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Tourism

Volume 403: debated on Tuesday 8 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the total Government expenditure was on tourism in the South West in the last two years. [107329]

The South West Regional Development Agency spent £10,000 on tourism in 2001–01 and awarded £470,000 to be spent over two years in 2002–03. The English Tourism Council granted £536,770 (2001–02) and £537,766 (2002–03) to South West Tourism. The South West also benefits from the work of the British Tourist Authority, which received £49.7million (2001–02) and £54.5 million (2002–03) from the Department, and the English Tourism Council, which received £13.8 million (2001–02) and £15.4 million (2002–03). In addition, DCMS spends approximately £1 billion annually, including funding for museums, galleries and heritage, which benefits tourism in the South West and throughout the country.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans she has to make the registration of accommodation providers compulsory in the UK. [107500]

The Government have no such plans. Questions relating to tourism policy in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are now a matter for the devolved administrations.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport which bodies were consulted in relation to the proposed changes in the tourism structure in the UK. [107501]

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and I have regularly met, and discussed tourism reform, with representatives of the tourism industry at the twice-yearly Tourism Fora and at the 24-hour Hartwell House seminar in October 2001, and its follow-up in July 2002. In the summer of 2002, I chaired a Steering Group set up to discuss the practicalities of developing a marketing function for England. This Group was representative of the importance to tourism of the regional perspective and the key role of the private sector. We have also commissioned reports on modernisation and restructuring, and on developing a domestic marketing function for England, from Groups widely representative of the tourism industry. Scottish and Welsh colleagues were consulted both before the announcement of reform on 31 October 2002 and throughout the development of the new body.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what plans she has to introduce a distinct national tourist board for England, with responsibility for marketing England, as suggested in the report, The Structure and Strategy for Supporting Tourism: [107505](2) what steps have been taken to restructure English tourism as a result of the report, The Structure and Strategy for Supporting Tourism. [107503]

When the report, The Structure and Strategy for Supporting Tourism, was published on 4 February 2003, plans announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State on 31 October 2002 for reform of Government support for tourism were already well underway. The reform has seen the strengths and resources of the English Tourism Council and the British Tourist Authority combined in one organisation, VisitBritain, from 1 April 2003. VisitBritain has responsibility for the promotion of Britain overseas and England to the domestic market.In designing this structure, we have responded to industry's priorities of focusing on marketing and e-tourism. We believe that this new and more coherent structure will ensure that England receives an excellent marketing service, coordinated at national and regional level, to make the most of the collective effort of all sectors promoting tourism here and will get the best value for money for England.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to her answer of 24 February 2003, Official Report, column 63W, on tourism, what assessment she has made of the effect military action in Iraq has had on the UK tourism industry. [107562]

It is too early to make an accurate assessment of the effect of military action in Iraq on the UK tourism industry. VisitBritain has reported some nervousness about travel in overseas markets, particularly long-haul, and some airlines have reduced their capacity. A fuller assessment can be made once statistics are available.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what plans she has to increase the level of Government investment in the English Tourism Council; [107498](2) what extra funds have been made available to English tourism authorities as a result of the report, "The Structure and Strategy for Supporting Tourism". [107502]

When the report, "The Structure and Strategy for Supporting Tourism", was published on 4 February 2003, plans announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State on 31 October 2002 for reform of Government support for tourism were already well under way. The reform has seen the strengths and resources of the English Tourism Council and the British Tourist Authority combined in one organisation, VisitBritain, from 1 April 2003.Within VisitBritain, English tourism will continue to receive annual baseline funding of £12 million, plus additional funds of £10 million over 3 years (2003–04—2005–06). Of the £12 million baseline, £3.6 million will be channelled to Regional Tourist Boards via Regional Development Agencies. Some of the £10 million of additional funding is contingent upon the successful delivery of reform and matched funding targets being met.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the total central Government expenditure on promoting domestic tourism during 2002 was in (a) England, (b) Scotland, (c) Wales and (d) Northern Ireland. [107497]

Central Government support for domestic tourism in England during 2002 was provided via the English Tourism Council (ETC), which had no remit for promotion. In 2002, it concentrated on research and product development activity, as did Defra in respect of rural tourism. Following a review of priorities for the tourism industry, the roles of the ETC and British Tourist Authority were combined on 1 April 2003 to form VisitBritain, which will have marketing of England as its key domestic tourism role.Support for tourism in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is a devolved responsibility; questions relating to central Government funding should therefore be directed to each administration.