Passionate Support Can't Stop the Cuts; Pounds 4m Slashed from Tourism Promotion
Byline: Andrew Glover
MORE than pounds 4m has been slashed from North East tourism promotion as agency chiefs admit they do not know who will take over their vital role.
The pounds 4bn regional tourism industry has been told One North East will be unable to fund anything tourism-related from April.
Agency chiefs had hoped Business Secretary Vince Cable would make an exception to the cuts for the tourism sector given how it now accounts for some 10% of the regional economy.
But last night various area tourism partnerships were told they would not be funded from next year, as well as having to cope with immediate spending cuts.
A series of Local Enterprise Partnerships due to be set up between councils and businesses could take over tourism promotion, but the immediate halt in spending means a gap in much-needed national adverts ahead of next year's high season.
Funding for successful promotional campaign 'Passionate People, Passionate Places' has been wiped out and bodies including the County Durham and Northumberland area tourism partnerships face losing their financial support altogether from March 2011 onwards.
Despite the spending blow, and those expected after to be revealed next month, many organisations were putting on a brave face last night.
Giles Ingram, chief executive of Northumberland Tourism, said: "The aim is to maintain our services to businesses and continue to support them almost as much as we have in the past three years."
Northumberland Tourism's revised budget for 2010/11 is pounds 479,737, but it is now preparing to function without One North East support once the organisation is shut down. …