ABTA brands UK tourism campaign a 'misguided use of public funds'

Thursday, 8 March 2012 9:37 AM

Is the new VisitEngland campaign a 'misguided use of public funds'?

Is the new VisitEngland campaign a 'misguided use of public funds'?

Yesterday VisitEngland launched a £4 million celebrity-backed advertising campaign to encourage Brits to holiday at home this year. However, according to ABTA research, it might not prove as successful as the Government is hoping.

The ABTA survey has revealed that only four per cent of consumers are influenced by government tourism campaigns and a whopping two thirds are against the government spending money on tourism advertising.

Instead, it is family and friends that have the greatest effect on our holiday plans, according to the survey, with the majority of those polled admitting to choosing a holiday destination based on recommendations from people they know.

We're also far more likely to pay attention to travel websites, television programs and newspaper recommendations than government campaigns – 36 per cent favoured websites and brochures, and 16 per cent admitted to being influenced by films and magazines.

The ABTA survey also revealed that British holidaymakers are more likely to look forward to a foreign break than a domestic one; despite the upcoming celebrations, 42 per cent of Brits are looking to travel overseas, compared to the 16 per cent planning to stay home.

Only one in five of those polled expressed support for the current government campaign. Female consumers, who previous research has shown tend to be the ones to decide on a destination, feel more strongly about the campaign; 71 per cent of women oppose it, compared to 59 per cent of men.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive, said: “2012 is a year for Britain to shine and there are some fantastic events and places to visit for people choosing to holiday in the UK. However, I don’t think the Government needs to spend £4m of our money telling us that we’re having the Queen’s Jubilee and the Olympics".

"ABTA also believes it is wrong to assume that holidaying at home is better for the economy than holidaying abroad. Foreign travel creates a huge amount of jobs and taxes in the UK as well as giving an incredible boost to the high street. This is a misguided use of public funds at a time when so many other areas of the economy are in urgent need of support,” he added. 

The survey, which questioned a total of around 2044 adults, was carried out online by YouGov Plc.

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