The UK’s outbound travel industry has united against plans for a £4 million government TV campaign to encourage Brits to stay in the UK during the Olympics this summer.
The campaign has been announced by culture secretary Jeremy Hunt, and will be the biggest domestic tourism TV campaign in the nation’s history. The strapline for the TV promos will be “There’s so much happening in Britain in 2012, why on earth would you want to go abroad!” Industry figures are calling for the campaign to be scrapped, labeling it “scandalous” and the action of a “dysfunctional government.”
The campaign is intended to make up for the expected reduction in the number of inbound visitors to the UK, due to the Olympics taking place in London. However, the outgoing tourism trade has slated the campaign, saying it is a waste of public money and will have little to no effect on the public’s intentions of escaping the UK this summer.
“Why should taxpayers have to pay £4m to be persuaded to stay at home to watch the Olympics on television (as there are no tickets) when it would have made more sense and been more cost effective to give £4m worth of free Olympic tickets to the public?” asked David Speakman, chairman at Travel Counsellors. “I despair at the waste and the incompetence of politicians,” he added.
Jason Dwyer, director at Bookable Holidays, said he doubted the campaign would have any effect.
“Whatever convincing the government wants to do to get people to stay in the UK it will have the opposite effect and simply remind people to hurry and book a holiday before they all sell out,” said Mr Dwyer.
Image by Francesco Gernone