Culture & Tourism / 13 March 2015

VisitEngland to become stand-alone body for English tourism and focus on supporting new tourism experiences

VisitEngland will formally separate from VisitBritain and VisitEngland, creating a truly independent body for England which puts the UK’s biggest tourism market on a par with other UK nations.

This is one of the main recommendations in the Government’s Triennial Review of tourism bodies VisitEngland and VisitBritain, which was laid before Parliament by Helen Grant MP, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Sport and Tourism).

The Review also recommends a new focus for VisitEngland on supporting the development of competitive and engaging tourism experiences.

VistEngland’s Chief Executive, James Berresford, welcomed the new direction: ““This gives us the role we have always wanted,” said Mr Berresford. “We will be leading strategic development across the industry to ensure England’s tourism offer is compelling. It takes us beyond marketing and involves us in helping shape the nature of the English offer,” he added.

“England has amazing tourism assets but they must be made available and presented in a way that meets people’s aspirations and to a standard that is comparable with other leading overseas tourism markets. This is essential to make sure people choose our country over others,” said Mr Berresford. “Our concentration of support for developing new tourism experiences will be a catalyst for the next generation of world class leisure and business tourism offerings.”

The Triennial Review recommends that VisitEngland manages a Challenge Fund in order to support the development of competitive tourism experiences that will increase visitor numbers, in particular beyond London and across all regions of the country.

VisitEngland and VisitBritain will work extremely closely on this area of work, with VisitBritain assessing the international appeal of tourism experiences and promoting them to overseas markets, with VisitEngland focusing on the domestic market.

Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association commented: “Pubs are a quintessential part of the English tourism offer. In recent years many have transformed themselves into wonderful visitor focussed experiences offering great food and some 40,000 rooms in pubs.Today’s tourist however wants to see pubs and other visitor facilities as part of a wide range of experiences whether it is a city break, heritage trail or trip to the countryside.Any initiative that boosts enjoyment of our tourism product has got to be a good thing.”

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