​Boosting UK Tourism: The Urgent Need for Increased Funding

​Boosting UK Tourism: The Urgent Need for Increased Funding

Posted by Emily on 18th Mar 2024

The Tourism Alliance, representing 70 industry bodies, has spotlighted a critical underinvestment in the UK's tourism sector. With only 81p allocated per capita for international marketing, the UK trails behind its competitors' average expenditure of £5.88. This comparison underscores a pressing need for action to enhance the global visibility and attractiveness of the UK as a premier travel destination.

London skyline from the Excel centre 0ChrisLambert0, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

An analysis of funding for VisitBritain, the UK's national tourism agency, reveals a concerning disparity. While the UK increased its tourism promotion budget by £1.6 million annually post-pandemic, other nations averaged a substantial £126 million in similar efforts. Pre-pandemic funding for VisitBritain was also 26% lower than that of its international counterparts.

To bridge this gap and elevate the UK's competitive stance, the Tourism Alliance advocates for a funding boost to £69 million yearly, supplemented by a £15 million recovery fund. The Alliance's chairman, Tom Jenkins, emphasises the startling competitiveness gap, highlighting that many proposed policy measures require no additional expenditure.


The report emphasises the strategic importance of the tourism sector for economic and regional development, urging the adoption of policies to foster its growth. The UK faces increased competition, as other countries have recognised tourism's economic significance and launched well-funded recovery initiatives.

Proposed measures to rejuvenate UK tourism include simplifying the visa application process and reducing visa costs to align more closely with international standards. Additionally, the report suggests expanding passport-free travel for schoolchildren and finding sustainable solutions to rail strikes, which hinder travel and challenge the sector's sustainability goals.

Stonehenge2007 07 30 garethwiscombe, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The path to recovery and growth for UK tourism is clear: strategic investment and policy reforms. By addressing these critical areas, the UK can secure its position as a top global destination, delivering significant economic benefits and enhancing its appeal to international visitors.

We invite your insights and comments below on how the UK can further enhance its tourism sector.