Britain has recently been suffering its worst crisis in tourism since the foot and mouth affair in 2001. The British Chamber of Commerce has launched a scathing attack on those it believes are not doing enough for a country with such potential and background.
Let’s start by taking a glance at the facts – since 1997, inbound tourism to Britain has dropped by a staggering 17.9%. Indeed, this makes the British the second worst country in the EU in this respect.
It is clearly not a case of Britain not having the means to sustain a huge tourism industry. The heritage and attractions of Britain need no introduction. The industry is, despite the declines, still very prominent and makes a lot of money. The accounting giant, Deloitte, stated that tourism accounts for 8.2% of the British GDP and employs 1.4 billion people. According to the BCC, the problems lie with the lack of marketing and sheer neglect of the importance of tourism.
Apparently, the whole industry is incompetently managed by the government, BCC states. Whereas, for example, the Spanish recently decided to plough huge amounts of cash into luring people to their country, the British government has cut the VisitBritain budget by 18%. The British merely presume that everybody wants to visit and no or little effort is necessary. The first 6 months of this year have shown no sign of an improvement in such an attitude, leading to the BCC attack.
It has been noted that this approach to marketing Britain has to change in order for the British to remain competitive and in light of some very important sporting events to be hosted in the British Isles. The 2012 London Olympics and the 2013 Rugby World Cup are sure to be the subjects of intensive marketing campaigns.