In a long overdue rationalization of Britain's tourism marketing effort, culture, media and sport secretary Tessa Jowell is to merge the English Tourism Council and the British Tourist Authority.

The new entity will end thirty years or so of infighting and competing for funds between the two government-sponsored bodies. As yet unbranded, it will launch on 01-Apr-03 with current BTA chief executive Tom Wright at the helm.

According to Jowell, the melding of the two tourist bodies will not lead to greater centralization of marketing, with England, Scotland and Wales each retaining and developing their disparate brand identities.

Touting the New Labour party-line on private financing of government activities, Jowell proclaimed: “In England, I see a major leadership role for both the private sector and the regional development agencies in developing a coherent marketing agenda across the industry.”

The move – especially the emphasis on marketing – was welcomed across the UK tourist industry.

Data sourced from: BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff