Tourism is an economic powerhouse for Britain. But for too long tourism has not been given the recognition it deserves. This Government’s approach has been patchy. Ministers have failed to take a properly joined-up approach.
At DCMS Questions, I asked the Minister:
Ms Harriet Harman (Camberwell and Peckham) (Lab):
Our tourism industry is a vital part of our economy, employing over 3 million people, with huge potential for growth in every region in England, in Scotland and in Wales, but it could do even better, especially with the growing number of tourists from China and the other BRIC countries—Brazil, Russia and India. In fact, our market share of Chinese tourists is falling. What it needs is the coherent backing of Government—transport links, visa processing, skills development, and local and regional regeneration. What is the Minister doing to ensure that her Department leads the rest of Government to deliver for the tourism industry?
Mrs Grant: Our tourism strategy has been very successful. It has seen robust visa reform, cuts in air passenger duty and the creation of a tourism council. Millions of pounds have also been spent on the GREAT campaign. As a result, we have seen record visitor numbers, a record spend and an estimated £127 billion going into the economy as gross value added. I note that the right hon. and learned Lady recently launched a new tourism strategy, but I do not think it adds any more to what we are already doing, and I am not prepared to take finger-pointing from her on tourism issues.