Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses(Questions 38-39)



  Chairman: Gentlemen, I should like to welcome you. We are going to be very brisk in order to get the best we possibly can out of you and I am going to ask Mr Fabricant to open the questioning.

Michael Fabricant

  38. You probably heard the evidence which was being given just now by the English Tourism Council. They talked about the disparate sources of funding they have had to deal with in the past. They gave us a ray of hope when they said they thought the new arrangements would mean that monies which come from regional development agencies, local councils could all be pulled together by this new organisation. How?
  (Mr Quarmby) May I just introduce my colleagues? Bernard Donoghue is on my right, who manages our relationships with Westminster and with the devolved administrations in Edinburgh and Cardiff. On my left is Tom Wright, who is our new Chief Executive who joined the BTA in June and took over on 1 August. I, as you know, am David Quarmby, the Chairman of the British Tourist Authority. Let me answer Mr Fabricant's question. One of the objectives of the new organisation, so far as its England marketing role is concerned, will be to co-ordinate a marketing strategy for England, working with the regional tourist boards and the regional development agencies, with the industry and with the main national organisations such as National Trust, English Heritage, etcetera and with local government. Of course we still have to work on the mechanisms of achieving that co-ordination but I do not believe it is a particularly daunting task. It is very much what the regions and the industry are looking for and it is a clear task of this new organisation to bring that co-ordination about.

  39. Is there not going to be a distortion to the system, an imbalance, by your relationship with Scotland and Wales?
  (Mr Quarmby) May I just make some general remarks about that because we need to look at the overall context? The creation of a proper marketing function for England has indeed been strongly advocated by your Committee in your 1999 report on DCMS and its quangos and again last year in your 2001 report. Achieving this by bringing BTA and ETC together was perhaps unexpected, but we believe there are significant benefits: first of pooling the expertises and particularly bringing to bear the professional marketing experience of BTA; second, making relevant overseas marketing material available for domestic purposes to England, as indeed we have done for many years to Scotland and Wales for their own purposes; also providing a simpler structure for the industry to relate to and the regions and local government. We in BTA have been particularly concerned to retain the trust and the confidence of our strategic partners in Wales and Scotland under this new plan. I want to make three points. The new overseas marketing strategy, which we launched last week and which we shall be pleased to tell you more about if you wish, proceeds unchanged. It has some key features in it which benefit Wales and Scotland. Secondly, government funding for overseas marketing in the new organisation will be ring-fenced and contained in our funding agreement.

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