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Volume 201: debated on Wednesday 15 January 1992

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To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make it his policy that the Wales tourist board should be able to carry on activities outside the United Kingdom in order to promote Welsh tourism.

The Government remain concerned that Wales should continue to receive the economic benefits which accrue from a strong and broadly based tourism industry. We have considered carefully that many representations which have been made suggesting that powers should be granted to the Wales tourist board to undertake activities outside the United Kingdom in order to promote tourism in Wales.The industry is expected to continue to expand rapidly worldwide, and there will undoubtedly be increasing competition for overseas visitors. The Government therefore support the intentions of the Tourism (Overseas Promotion) (Wales) Bill—which was introduced by the hon. Member for Delyn (Mr. Raffan)—to grant powers to the Wales tourist board corresponding to those enjoyed by the Scottish tourist board under the Tourism (Overseas Promotion) (Scotland) Act 1984. The Government are also prepared to offer drafting assistance if necessary.I have accepted the Wales tourist board's assurance that it would not exercise such powers unless it had undertaken full consultation with and obtained the agreement of the British Tourist Authority before embarking upon any overseas marketing activity, and that it would not seek a direct overseas presence by opening separate offices in overseas markets. My consent will only be given on this basis.