The government has been attacked over its decision to cut funding to the tourism sector in a Treasury Select Committee report published today. The report said that the move to cut funding to VisitBritain by 18% by 2010/11 was “baffling” and that while it understood budget cuts at the DCMS were necessary, the timing was poor ahead of the 2012 Olympics. The report also drew attention to the fact that the DCMS had seen seven chiefs since 1997. The committee said: "We are concerned by the lack of confidence the industry appears to have in DCMS. "We are also discouraged that responsibility for tourism has been so frequently transferred between departmental ministers creating an impression that it is seen as an afterthought which has to fit in with their other responsibilities." VisitBritain responded: “We are delighted that the Select Committee has found that there is "a strong case for increasing the resources to VisitBritain" from central government. “We are particularly pleased that this committee has consistently been a strong advocate for the tourism industry and we welcome its call for greater central government investment in this important industry, especially in order to realise the tourism benefits of hosting the London 2012 Olympic and Paralymic Games. “We are also pleased that the report calls for tourism "to be taken seriously" at all levels of government, including local authorities, RDAs and central government.” Grant Hearn, chief executive of Travelodge, who gave evidence to the Committee, said: “The Select Committee has perfectly understood the flaws inherent in the government’s approach to tourism, but unfortunately this is nothing new to those of us in the industry. What should be new is a rapid DCMS response to the issues raised and remedies quickly identified. “We must seize the moment before the once in a life time opportunity that the Olympic Games offers us is squandered through inactivity and poor planning. The current situation of underinvestment in marketing Britain abroad and the lack of a coherent Olympics tourism strategy cannot continue. “Tourism is potentially a top three UK industry that is investing and recruiting even in these more difficult times. Government should get behind this industry now to take it to another level.” Visit London also condemned the government’s lack of funding to ensure the legacy of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. “The forecast incremental tourism benefit of the Games is £2.2bn for London and £2.9bn for the UK,” said Visit London chief executive James Bidwell. “With just four years until London 2012, the government has no funding in place to ensure that the tourism sector can leverage this once in a life opportunity for the visitor economy. The post-Games legacy depends on our ability to showcase London and Britain to the world and this cannot be done without appropriate funding. The government seems to have a tourism blind spot on how to maximise the Olympic opportunity.”