Visit Kent's David Curtis-Brignell warns of tourism funding challenges ahead at Tourism Consultants' Network conference in Manchester

The county's tourism agency says it will be forced to look at new funding models going forward as a result of cuts from central government to local authorities.

Speaking at a conference in Manchester, the deputy CEO of Visit Kent's parent organisation Go To Places, warned that destination management organisations (DMOs) face an uncertain future.

David Curtis-Brignell told delegates at the Tourism Consultants' Network conference the 53% cut in tourism funding that has already been seen in the previous nine years, will only get worse.

David Curtis-Brignell (5581271)
David Curtis-Brignell (5581271)

He also suggested this decrease, combined with a cuts in government funding to councils in the decade 2010-2020, will mean that budgets for tourism promotion and management are at risk.

Visit Kent is a public/private DMO which receives funding from both Kent and Medway councils.

He said: “DMOs can no longer rely on traditional sources of long-term funding or traditional models of operation and will have to look at new operating and funding models going forwards which will include outsourcing in order to maintain a tourism service which is affordable.

Leeds Castle, one of the many attractions Visit Kent uses to entice visitors in
Leeds Castle, one of the many attractions Visit Kent uses to entice visitors in

“At Go To Places we see the future of the DMO funding model as a mix of outsourcing and smarter working. The solution to funding uncertainty lies in collaborating with other destinations to create 'Super DMOs' which will bring much needed economies of scale.”

Go To Places also provides the Visit Herts DMO and is the only organisation delivering an official DMO in more than one county.

Kent's tourism industry generates some £3.6billion into the local economy and supports 72,000 jobs.

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