U.K. government releases local tourist board funding review

Published on : Wednesday, March 3, 2021

The U.K. government has recently revealed a review to assess how destination management organisations across England are funded and structured. The investigation will examine how they perform their roles in order to establish whether there may be a more efficient and effective model for supporting tourism at the regional level. The review is likely to make recommendations on what that model may look like.

It is led by Nick de Bois, Chair of the VisitEngland advisory board, acting in an independent capacity. He will receive administrative support from the department for digital, culture, media and sport. The review seeks to examine the extent to which the current destination management organisation landscape is economically efficient, effective and sustainable (with regard to funding, structure and performance).

It will also explore what best enables the government to meet its leisure and business tourism policy objectives at a national, regional and local level. It will even see how the landscape engages within the wider local and regional economic landscape, and the current focus on English devolution and ‘levelling up’. Depending on the findings of this examination, the review will need to make recommendations, to government, the tourism sector, or both as appropriate, about whether destination management organisations might be structured or funded differently.

The review will also look at what the role of destination management organisations should be, keeping in mind other local structures such as Local Enterprise Partnerships, Mayoral Combined Authorities, local authorities and other similar local or regional bodies. Over the coming months, the review team will aim to speak to as many English destination management organisations as possible, ensuring consultation with a diverse and representative spread of these organisations in terms of geographical location, size and nature of funding streams.

Commenting on the review, Deirdre Wells, Chief Executive, Go To Places, said in a statement that the review comes at a critical time for the visitor economy as it begins to re-build the industry post COVID.  She mentioned that the pandemic has demonstrated the fundamental role which destination management organisations play in supporting an industry worth over £127 billion. She shared that ensuring that destination management organisations have the resources to continue to deliver high quality destination management which boosts business, supports communities and transforms the high streets is essential.

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