2012 tourism ads hit by government funding cut

The British tourism industry has hit out at the government's 18% reduction in VisitBritain's funding - a decision that will prevent it running any advertising in the years up to London 2012.

Tourism alliance UKInbound said it was 'horrified' by the announcement and warned that the £2.1bn in tourism revenue predicted to be generated by the 2012 Olympics will be 'impossible' to achieve if the tourist board has insufficient resources.

'The DCMS has lost the plot,' said UKInbound chief executive Stephen Dowd. 'James Purnell has emasculated VisitBritain and our competitors will be rubbing their hands in glee.' The Tourism Society deemed the decision 'very harmful'.

'A tourism legacy requires world-class attractions, hotels and the creative promotion of the British brand said Guy Parsons, chief operating officer at Travelodge. 'We risk all these by failing to fund marketing, which is critical.'

In May, VisitBritain was forced to make redundancies to save £4m to offset the government's failure increase its overseas marketing funding, but it will be forced to make further cuts in areas such as research to mitigate a drop to £40.6m by 2010/11.

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