Goodbye Visit London?

By | Category: Travel rumblings

London will have no tourist board from April 2011. Visit London will be no more. And nothing to replace it.
From “Meetings and Incentives Travel”, a trade magazine came this story as it says it has seen a letter written by Visit London’s chief executive, Sally Chatterjee, saying it may cease to exist.
Because “someone” forgot about London. It’s funny enough to make you cry. All these expensively paid people; all those “experts” and nobody spotted it.
The funding for Visit London came from the London Development Agency, which like all regional development agencies, has been scrapped. But no political bright spark in either the government or the London Assembly seems to have spotted that this meant no money for Visit London. Which means no money for tourism. Which means that little thing called the 2012 Olympics won’t have any promotional budget from London. Theoretically it will be promoted by Visit Britain. So maybe the Olympics shouldn’t worry. But despite what seems to be the case, there are other events happening in London which require the world outside London to be aware of them. It is Visit London that works to encourage big events and conferences to come to London rather than other Paris or Berlin. But some will say shouldn’t that just be the role of the venues themselves like ExCel, Earls Court and Olympia.
Whichever side of the argument that you sit on, can you imagine the laughter that must be going on in some of the big cities in the world that view us as competitors? No tourist body for a great city like London they will say. Fancy forgetting about it when the budgeting was going on they will sneer. Didn’t Visit London warn anyone while the cutbacks were being considered they might ask. Is Visit London so unimportant that nobody in government paid any attention to it? Didn’t any of the six people on the London Assembly’s Economic Development, Culture, Sports & Tourism Committee spot this? Or the 26 members who make up the London Assembly? Or the 73 M.P.’s who sit for London constituencies? Or John Penrose as tourism minister?
Well if I was a New Yorker working for I love NY, one of the most successful of the big city tourism promotion companies, I’d be having a laugh. As I would be if I worked for Cardiff & Co or Visit Manchester. And if I was Glasgow which has won Best Convention Bureau in the UK for the last 4 years running I’d be rolling on the floor with laughter.
Maybe it should be referred to the Parliamentary Committee on Tourism to investigate. Except there isn’t one of those either.

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