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Volume 404: debated on Wednesday 30 April 2003

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If he will make a statement on the tourism policy for Wales. [109790]

Tourism is a major contributor to the Welsh economy. It contributes some £2 billion per annum and provides employment for around 100,000 people in Wales.

What is the Secretary of State doing to make sure that the Welsh tourist industry is protected from the SARS virus, which is spreading across the world? That needs to be taken into consideration, especially after the Government's handling of the foot and mouth crisis.

Advice has been issued to schools and colleges in Wales on pupils returning from infected areas, and we are following the policy recommended by the World Health Organisation to the letter, making sure that the issue is treated responsibly, but without raising unnecessary alarm, and that has resulted in a situation where just six cases have been reported—none in Wales—and all of those are on the road to recovery.

Does my right hon. Friend recall the hugely successful eurozone experiment at Llangollen's musical eisteddfod last year, and does he agree that early entry into the European monetary system would help and enhance tourism throughout Wales?

I congratulate my hon. Friend on his experiment at the international musical eisteddfod in Llangollen last year. I shall be visiting the festival this July and I look forward to a similar experience. Obviously, the United Kingdom will benefit from joining the euro when the economic circumstances are right, and that is why we shall not rush into this recklessly, but will do so carefully, after the Chancellor has made his economic assessment, and only if that economic assessment is positive.