Memorandum submitted by the North West
1. Introduction to the regional tourist boards
The role of the regional tourist boards is to
promote the sustainable development and effective operation of
tourism in the regions, in partnership with local authorities,
the industry and regional development agencies.
2. Funding awarded to ETC and the regional
tourist boards for information and promotion in response to the
ETC were awarded £3.8 million, £1.36
of this was awarded to the RTBs as follows:
3. Information and promotion undertaken by
the North West Tourist Boards in response to the FMD outbreak
NWTB have established a Call Centre number for
consumer enquiries, which operated up to and through the Easter
Weekend. We have undertaken a series of above the line advertising
to motivate the consumer and give confidence that the regions
were "Open" for business. In addition a major PR campaign
was launched using the media, both press and television.
4. Impact and effect of information and promotion
undertaken by the North West Tourist Board in response to the
Hundreds of calls were made by the public to
the regional Call Centre number, where accurate, up-to-date information
was given by trained staff. Visitor attractions had a brisk weekend
trade, which was sorely needed. Concerns however, are for the
future. The low level of forward bookings being experienced by
the accommodation sector, shows that there is much work to do
in re-establishing confidence.
5. Issues for the Committee's consideration
There is no government funding to the English
Tourism Council and therefore, the regional tourist boards to
support marketing. In contrast, both the Wales Tourist Board and
Scotland Tourist Board and Northern Ireland Tourist Board receives
significant government funding from the respective devolved administrations
for marketing and promotion.
Funds for marketing are generated by the regional
tourist boards themselves, through promotions, including brochures,
which are supported by commercial advertising. This limits the
scale and scope of tourism promotion: for example, major consumer
advertising campaigns and PR campaigns cannot usually be undertaken
because funding from tourism businesses is not available for generic
This deficiency in marketing funding for England
has been highlighted by the foot and mouth disease outbreak. The
regional tourist boards have had to respond very quickly to the
need to provide information and advice for tourism businesses,
and information for visitors about where to visit.
The Tourist Information Centre Network, has
performed well in keeping abreast of the demands from the consumer,
for information. The level of ICT infrastructure investment is
however varied and thus making comprehensive data provision very
The regional tourist boards have risen to the
The lack of ICT infrastructure nationally and
regionally has made information provision awkward and not easily
Lack of marketing/PR staff has necessitated
outsourcing a good deal of work, which properly resourced would
have made the messages clearer.
The impact of FMD on tourism businesses will
affect the ability of the regional tourist boards to raise revenue
for marketing this year. The industry will not have the funds
to partake of marketing activities. Attractions also will not
have the resources to take part in the national quality assessment
scheme and accommodation will withdraw from the Accommodation
Inspection Scheme. The long-term effects of this would be reductions
in the quality offered and a downward spiral in our competitiveness.
Subsidies have already been announced for Scottish businesses.
England is losing its market share and the tourism
deficit is growing.
There is a need for long-term investment in
English tourism, especially the reinstatement of funding for marketing.
England is losing its market share and the tourism deficit will
continue to grow, if we are not in a position to deliver a comprehensive
recovery plan for the industry.