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Tourism

Volume 124: debated on Tuesday 15 December 1987

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20.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many overseas visitors came to the United Kingdom in the first six months of 1987; and how this figure compares with the figure for the first six months of 1986.

6,790,000 overseas visitors came to the United Kingdom in the first six months of 1987, an increase of nearly 16 per cent. of the 5,872,000 who visited in the same period in 1986.

21.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what information he has on the amount of money spent by overseas visitors on British carriers.

Spending by overseas visitors on fares with United Kingdom carriers was approximately £1,300 million in 1986.

25.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what he is doing to encourage the improvement of the presentation of tourism sites.

As the Minister responsible for tourism I have taken every opportunity to encourage the highest possible standards for all tourism facilities. Proper attention to presentation and quality are essential to the success of every tourism business. The English Tourist Board is similarly encouraging the industry to improve its product through its marketing and advisory services and its section 4 scheme of financial assistance.

26.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if there are any plans to create a national tourism day or week; and if he will make a statement.

I am considering a number of ideas for raising the profile of the tourism industry. I have no specific plans in this area at present.

29.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what information he has regarding the number of overseas visitors to York in 1986 and their expenditure.

Such information is not available. However, I understand that a study of tourism in Yorkshire is currently being undertaken by York university which is expected to provide specific information on individual tourism spending by town.

30.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what information he has regarding cooperation agreements for tourism between Britain and other countries.

The United Kingdom Government have no formal agreements for tourism co-operation with other countries. The British Tourist Authority does from time to time enter into practical agreements with national tourist organisations of other countries, to promote and develop bilateral tourism.

40.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is the latest information he has on the percentage of total employment accounted for by the tourism industry.

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Hereford (Mr. Shepherd) on 20 November 1987 at column 508.

46.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what he is doing to encourage the tourism industry to he aware of the need to have a wide spread of markets.

Both my Department and the English Tourist Board are actively working to encourage the industry to invest in a range of new and improved facilities and attractions to appeal to all sectors of the domestic and overseas tourism market. The English Tourist Board's development and marketing strategy "A Vision for England" identifies the key developments necessary to encourage and promote the market appeal of England as a tourist destination.

48.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what he is doing to ensure that the Channel tunnel stimulates tourist traffic throughout the whole of Britain.

My Department is represented on the British Tourist Authority's Channel tunnel national tourism working party which is studying the tunnel's implications for tourism and identifying how best to exploit its tourism potential to the benefit of the whole country.

51.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is the number of people at present employed in the tourist industry; and what was the corresponding figure for 1979.

The latest estimate of employees in employment in the industries most directly related to tourism relates to June 1987 when there were approximately 1·4 million employees. The corresponding figure for June 1979 was 1·2 million. These figures exclude the self-employed in tourism-related industries, for whom comparable estimates are not available.

52.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what plans he has to encourage tourists to visit industrial sites; and if he will make a statement.

The success of those companies which have marketed themselves as tourism attractions in addition to their main manufacturing activities demonstrates that industry possesses considerable potential for tourism development. I have referred to the opportunities for further exploiting this potential in a number of recent speeches. In addition, I shall be meeting the president of the CBI, Sir David Nickson, in the new year to discuss this issue.

57.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the provision of all-weather leisure facilities for tourists in the United Kingdom.

The national tourist boards are encouraging the development of all-weather leisure facilities in order to help extend the tourist season, increase employment opportunities and to help spread the benefits of tourism throughout the country.

62.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what are (a) his Department and (b) the Manpower Services Commission doing to encourage the training of employees in the tourist industry; and if he will make a statement.

As sponsors of the tourism industry, my Department takes every opportunity to promote training in this important sector. In particular, through the Manpower Services Commission (MSC) we are supporting training through a wide range of youth and adult programmes. I also recently launched a conference of representatives from the tourism industry which considered the training needs of employees in the tourism industry. Following this conference, the MSC has undertaken to work with the industry in looking at how training and qualification for this sector can be further developed.

68.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what information he has on Britain's position in the world in terms of international tourism earnings.

In 1986 the United Kingdom's earnings from international tourism were about 6 per cent. of the total world tourism earnings and 11 per cent. of Europe's tourism earnings. Compared with other individual countries, the United Kingdom's earnings from tourism were the fourth highest in Europe and the fifth highest of OECD countries.

71.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what information he has regarding new overseas marketing initiatives proposed by the British tourist authority.

The British Tourist Authority has recently drawn up its marketing plan for 1988 which contains a number of marketing initiatives. These are designed to meet the Government's objectives of spreading the benefits of tourism throughout Great Britain, particularly to those areas of unexploited tourism potential, encouraging the development of tourism during the off-peak months.

78.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what he is doing to encourage major institutions such as pension funds, insurance companies and building societies to invest in tourism projects.

I have had informal meetings with representatives of financial institutions in order to draw their attention to the good investment opportunities offered by the tourism and leisure industry. I have also highlighted these opportunities in the many contacts which I have had with different sectors of the industry. The English Tourist Board has also had discussions with a wide range of financial institutions in order to encourage financial backing for tourism and leisure projects. More recently, the board gave a presentation of its new development strategy "A Vision for England" in London which was aimed specifically at the City financial institutions.

82.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will be encouraging the opening of more tourist information centres on motorway service areas similar to the one recently opened at the Forton motorway service area on the M6 in Cumbria.

As Minister responsible for tourism I was pleased to open the Forton tourist information centre in July. I understand also that in addition to the six currently operating, the English Tourist Board has plans to encourage the opening of other tourist information centres in motorway service areas on the M11, the M2.5 and the A1(M).

84.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what has been the increase in tourism industry jobs between 1979 and 1987; and what percentage of these jobs are part-time.

The number of employees in employment in the industries most directly related to tourism increased by 200,000, or 17 per cent., between June 1979 and June 1987 to a level of 1·4 million. Of these 1·4 million jobs, approximately 54 per cent. are part-time. All of these figures exclude the self-employed in tourism-related industries for whom comparable estimates are not available.