While France ups its spend, Britain’s government has decided to reduce VisitBritain’s funding from 49.6 million pounds to 47.6 million pounds in 2008, an approximately $4 million cut.
Perhaps coincidentally, $4 million is the cost of the organization’s “Be a Brit Different” campaign, which launched earlier this year to entice both new and repeat visitors to England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands.
Though the government increased funds for cultural institutions, such as museums, VisitBritain doesn’t believe that alone will lure visitors. “The offer of free entry to museums and galleries will not in itself persuade most international tourists to come to London instead of Paris, New York or Hong Kong,” said VisitBritain’s chairman, Christopher Rodrigues.
“This settlement also reduces the funding available to promote England at home and overseas,” he continued. “We will need to become even more efficient in the marketing partnerships we have with the travel industry and the regions and nations to plug the gap this settlement has created.”
Despite a 6 percent rise in international visitors from last year, Britain’s market share has been falling since September 11, Alex Paul, then the outgoing director of travel trade for VisitBritain, told Travel Agent in March. “We’re just trying to re-engage the American traveler and present ourselves in a different light,” he said of 2007’s marketing push.