Speaking at a recent summit to debate the way forward for the industry during the recession, John Hoy, chief executive of Blenheim Palace, which hosted the event organised by visitor attraction consultants Vision XS, said: "At a time when we need to be making a strong case for the UK, the 18 per cent cut in funding for Visit Britain makes no sense whatsoever."

Keynote speaker Juliana Delaney, chief executive of Continuum Attractions, added: "We need more effective lobbying to keep this industry in the minds of government."

Delaney, who said the economic impact on the amusement and attractions industry was of recalibration rather than recession, went on to state: "What we are seeing is the need for a different way of working. While the business travel sector is down, the leisure travel market is not as badly hit."

Pointing to the fact that while inbound travel to the UK is down 10 per cent, travel departures overseas are also down by 16 per cent, she added: "We are in the new era of the stay-cation – people are holidaying in their own back yard.

"Better the stay-cation than its evil cousin, the nay-cation – staying in and doing nothing. We have got to make sure that when they choose Margate instead of Malaga we give them what they want otherwise they will be off again next year."

The summit, which was held in Oxford on July 8, brought together around 50 of the UK’s top destinations. The agenda focused on the impact of the global economic climate on the industry, enabling delegates to share experiences from across the sector and pool strategies for success.