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By Ishbel Macleod | PR and social media consultant

March 7, 2012 | 2 min read

VisitEngland has today unveiled a campaign featuring celebrities such as Stephen Fry, Rupert Grint and Julie Walters to promote ‘staycations’.

However, the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) has rubbished the campaign, saying a YouGov survey found only 4% of consumers admitted to being influenced by Government advertising, with recommendations from family and friends (45%), travel websites and brochures (36%) and even Facebook photos (6%) receiving more votes. 7% said TV adverts inspire them when choosing holiday destinations.

The campaign, which promotes the 20.12% discount being offered to encourage Brits to holiday at home, was described as a "misguided use of public funds".

Mark Tanzer, ABTA chief executive said: “2012 is a year for Britain to shine and there are some fantastic events and places to visit for people choosing to holiday in the UK. However, I don’t think the Government needs to spend £4m of our money telling us that we’re having the Queen’s Jubilee and the Olympics.

“It is clear that the majority of Brits are strongly opposed to the Government spending taxpayer money on telling them where to go on holiday. British holidaymakers should be free to make their own choices and enjoy the variety the world has to offer without Government interference.

“ABTA also believes it is wrong to assume that holidaying at home is better for the economy than holidaying abroad. Foreign travel creates a huge amount of jobs and taxes in the UK as well as giving an incredible boost to the high street. This is a misguided use of public funds at a time when so many other areas of the economy are in urgent need of support.”

VisitEngland ABTA Travel & Leisure

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