Former tourism minister, and current Weston-Super-Mare MP, John Penrose, has called for tourist board VisitEngland to become independent of parent board VisitBritain.
VisitEngland is the only one of the UK national tourist boards to still have a legal parent. Penrose believes that England needs its own standalone tourism board to match VisitScotland, VisitWales and Discover Northern Ireland.
The proposals, which are in line with the government’s Tourism Policy originally written and launched by Penrose when he was tourism minister, call for VisitEngland to be refocused to spend more time helping local tourism boards across England to market their areas better in the future.
He also calls for VisitEngland and VisitBritain to do more partnership marketing with tourism industry companies.
Penrose says that this would make them less-dependent on government funding and would mean that they would ultimately abandon being government quangos entirely, to become industry-wide trade bodies coordinating tourism marketing campaigns instead.
Penrose said: “VisitEngland and VisitBritain are vital cogs in tourism’s wheel. Without their work, our visitor economy wouldn’t have been nearly so successful, and the Olympic tourism legacy would have been a lot smaller.
“But the world moves on, so they need to deal with new challenges. Visit England should be fully independent, so it can match Visit Scotland, Visit Wales or Discover Northern Ireland at last. And both VisitBritain and VisitEngland should ramp up their partnership marketing still further, so they steadily grow out of their dependence on government cash and eventually become industry-wide marketing co-ordinators instead of public sector quangos.”