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Overseas Tourists (Facilities)

Volume 440: debated on Thursday 17 July 1947

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asked the President of the Board of Trade whether with a view to encouraging foreign visitors, he will arrange for their issue with petrol and food coupons through travel agencies rather than through Government Departments which are often remote from city centres and where cases of misunderstanding and even discourtesy have been reported.

Under arrangements recently made by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Food, overseas visitors staying in catering establishments for not more than 28 days do not require food ration documents unless they wish to obtain certain foods such as sweets and oranges. With these exceptions it is not necessary for overseas tourists to approach Government Departments at all. With regard to petrol, I would ask the hon. Member to await the reply which my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Fuel and Power proposes to give to his Question for Written Answer on this subject today.


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that a substantial net gain of hard currencies would accue from the provision of extra petrol for tourists as is done in France, Denmark, Italy and other European countries, and from increasing the supply of soap and towels to hotels; and whether efforts will be made to attract tourists by this means.

With regard to petrol, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for West Leicester (Mr. Janner), on 15th July. Catering establishments get supplies of soap based either on their average monthly purchases during the six months prior to the introduction of soap rationing or, in the case of establishments not in operation at that time, on the number of residents and the number of meals and hot beverages served to non-residents. The distribution of any part of this soap to residents is at the discretion of establishments. My right hon. Friend the Minister of Food feels unable, in view of the present scarcity of oils and fats, to make any additional allocations of soap to hotels and other establishments. Overseas visitors not living in catering establishments receive, of course, coupons for soap in their temporary ration documents. Under a scheme announced on 5th December, in answer to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Norwich (Lady Noel-Buxton), more than 180,000 coupons for towels were issued to some 1,000 establishments catering for overseas visitors. I regret that no further supplies can be made available this season.

Would the right hon. and learned Gentleman mind saying whether extra petrol is to be given?

While I congratulate the President on that decision, is he aware that the suggestion was turned down flat four months ago by the Minister of Fuel and Power and would he keep a sharper eye on his right hon. Friend in such matters.


asked the Minister of Fuel and Power why, on 20th June, an American spending a few days in England was refused petrol coupons for his motor car by an official of the London Petroleum Board, Acton, treated with discourtesy, and advised that tourists were not wanted.

A number of applications for supplementary petrol coupons were made to the regional petroleum officer at Acton on 20th June, by visitors from overseas. I have not been able to trace any incident of the nature referred to in the Question, but if the hon. Member will let me have fuller particulars, I shall be glad to make further inquiries.

Has the Minister given instructions that his officials should be polite to foreigners coming to this country, and that foreigners should be treated with courtesy?

It is not necessary to give them specific instructions for that purpose, and I have been unable to find any evidence whatever of discourtesy in these cases.

In regard to the first part of the hon. Gentleman's reply, were the applications to which he referred granted or refused?

As I do not know to which applications the hon. Member refers, I cannot answer that question.

If the hon. Gentleman has made inquiries about the applications, could he not say whether they were granted or not?

I have pointed out that there were a number of applications. No doubt some were granted, and some refused.