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VisitEngland TV campaign slammed as 'patronising'

VisitEngland's TV campaign aimed at persuading more Britons to holiday at home this year has been branded as partronising and a waste of money by the boss of a company that sells domestic breaks.

Laurence Hicks, director of holiday rentals company Club La Costa, which has properties in Cornwall and Scotland as well as overseas, said the money would have been better spent encouraging foreigners to holiday in the UK.

He said the "Holidays at Home are GREAT" TV ads, which feature celebrities including Stephen Fry, Julie Walters, Michelle Dockery and Rupert Grint had not been well thought out.

"I particularly resent the patronising tone of the TV ad which suggests that we are somehow unpatriotic or thick for booking a holiday abroad this year," said Hicks.

"The fact is that people on tight budgets are more likely to be able to afford a holiday abroad than at home. Take any relevant indexes- consumer prices, groceries, restaurants, hotels - and the UK is much more expensive compared with popular overseas destinations such as Spain or Turkey."

The VisitEngland campaign offers 20.12% discounts at selected transport, accommodation, restaurants, events and attractions but this isn't sufficient to make people stay in the UK, according to Hicks, a former sales and marketing director at Inghams, ex managing director at Wendy Wu Tours and advertising director.

"A few quid off using the VisitEngland discounts is not going to make much difference," he said. "Meanwhile TV is a mass market medium but UK holidays are generally special interest and not mass market. It's certainly not working on bookings at our resorts in Cornwall which tend to be in addition to and not instead of a holiday abroad.

"The money would have been much better spent on trying to attract more well-heeled foreign visitors here." Report by Linsey McNeill Travel Mole website.

Published: 27.3.2012