BTP lobbies Jowell with evidence of C&I growth

The British Tourism Partnership (BTP) has appealed to culture secretary Tessa Jowell to consider business tourism favourably as part of its recently announced £40m campaign to boost the UK’s tourism industry. “There has been no pronouncement of how much the sector will receive from the campaign, so we have stressed to the Government that 20% of all tourism nights in the UK originate from business tourism, including the C&I sector,” said BTP chairman Michael Hirst. “The British Tourist Authority has concrete evidence that business tourism has experienced the most growth out of all sectors, yet it is often the way that when one sector is doing well it doesn’t get the attention it deserves. We should be making a strong industry leader even stronger.” Hirst added that the BTP has approached regional development agency chief executives to ensure a business tourism focus is included in their marketing strategies. Government policy will see these agencies playing a more active role in marketing tourism. So far, Hirst said, the response from the agencies has been positive. The BTP has also been in talks with the DTI to encourage a range of industry sectors to realise the importance of using conferences and exhibitions as effective routes of communication. Furthermore, the association will be producing a pamphlet this month on how to encourage both national and international visitors to lengthen their stay in the UK after events. This follows on from research showing competitor countries’ additional spend from business visitors is estimated to be as much as 25%, while in the UK it is only 15% (CIT, March). “This means we’re experiencing around a £10m loss in revenue, which needs to be addressed,” added Hirst.

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