Fallout over marketing budget
Tourism chief attacks spending priorities amid cuts row
Robin Worsnop: inconsistencies (pic: Terry Murden)
An Edinburgh tourism chief today questioned public spending priorities in Scotland which is pouring millions into subsidising a struggling airport while cuts were being proposed to marketing budgets for its biggest industry.
Amid growing anger over the city council’s plan to slash spending on Marketing Edinburgh, Robin Worsnop, chairman of Edinburgh Tourism Action Group, said he was concerned by the inconsistency of public spending.
He told a 200-strong audience of tourism leaders that he could not understand why Prestwick Airport was being financed while cuts were proposed to marketing Scotland’s biggest industry which faces growing international competition.
“What concerns me for a country of five million people is inconsistencies in public policy. How can Scotland afford to subsidise Prestwick Airport and yet allow the economic development budget of our capital city to be slashed by over £3m, not including Marketing Edinburgh?” he said.
Mr Worsnop, who runs Rabbie’s Bus Tours, used the conference to announce that he was stepping down as chairman.
Conference host Roddy Smith of Essential Edinburgh added that the city council cuts look like impacting on the tourism sector, “most worryingly for our colleagues at Marketing Edinburgh”.
Bernard Donoghue of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions said that cutting the marketing budget “flies in the face of logic and business sense.”
He also warned that Brexit was causing many European travellers to reconsider Britain as a destination, partly because falling sterling was making the UK more expensive to visit.
Among the concerns of EU tourists is that many currently travel using ID cards and will have to acquire a passport.
He also spoke out against a bed tax (or tourist tax) because Britain is already one of the most highly taxed countries to visit.