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Tourism

Volume 982: debated on Wednesday 2 April 1980

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11.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is satisfied with the co-ordination of the promotion of tourism in Scotland; and if he will make a statement.

In my view, there is need to improve the co-ordination of tourism promotion and tourist information services in Scotland. This must be achieved primarily by co-operation between the Scottish Tourist Board, the Highlands and Islands Development Board and the local authorities. These agencies and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities are considering now what measures they should take to work more closely together in this field, and I expect to hear shortly the views of the Tourist Board and the Convention about action which might be taken by the Government to assist them in this objective.

Will my right hon. Friend discuss with regional councils the important role that they should be playing in these matters which they do not always do? Will he further ensure that there is more co-ordination at local level between all the interested parties, not least the trade itself?

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. I expect that the views of COSLA will show that it considers that regional councils need to do more. I hope that more co-operation at local level can be achieved. I am sure that the chairman of the Tourist Board is well aware of that.

Will the Secretary of State not be too diverted, because of this tinkering with the institutions that is being suggested to him, and recognise the value of tourism in generating jobs? Will he ensure that those institutions are given the resources to maximise the benefits of tourism for Scotland?

I agree with the hon. Gentleman that we do not want a prolonged period of uncertainty during which all the institutions are under the microscope, but it is timely to look at the co-ordination between the various bodies, and that is what is happening under the new chairman.

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that there is a considerable architectural heritage in the West of Scotland that is now being increasingly appreciated by tourists? Will he ensure that this is fully taken on board in any discussions he has?

I agree with my hon. Friend's view and I will make sure that the chairman of the Tourist Board bears that in mind.