The Business Visits and Events Partnership (BVEP) has welcomed news that the tourism and Olympics legacy portfolio will be picked up by sports minister Hugh Robertson, the government figure responsible for the London 2012 Olympics.
Robertson’s promotion to minister of state for sport, from his previous job as parliamentary under-secretary of state, is one of many changes across the Department for Culture, Media and Sport resulting from Prime Minister David Cameron’s cabinet reshuffle. The reshuffle also saw the plug pulled on tourism and heritage minister John Penrose, a vocal supporter of the events industry.
Penrose’s departure, along with the move to trim the DCMS, caused consternation in both government and industry ranks and raised fears of a ‘vacuum’ appearing in the Government’s events industry representation.
BVEP chairman Michael Hirst highlighted Roberston’s competence in high-profile and international sporting events as attributes that were a better fit with tourism and the events industry.
“Robertson is a competent minister and has proven this particularly over the Olympics,” Hirst said. “Having put on these sporting events, he understands our interests. We will now be pressing for a meeting with him to ensure that events remain on the ministerial agenda.
“There’s no doubt DCMS is being made to work hard with less resource, and we have to fight our corner. From the BVEP’s perspective, at least we have a minister who has run the biggest event that’s ever been in the UK.
“From a tourism point of view, we’ve always had to fight for representation and that won’t change. Hopefully the momentum brought about by recent investments into the Great Britain promotional campaign funding will carry through while the minister settles in.”
In a statement, Robertson said he was delighted to have the opportunity to see the Olympic project through by helping to shape the crucial legacy period.
“Tourism is a key driver of the UK economy and I am determined to help the sector capitalise on the events of this summer which have transformed our reputation internationally,” he added.
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