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Tourist Boards

Volume 405: debated on Wednesday 21 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what proposals she has to expand the number of English regional tourist boards so that their boundaries are co-terminators with those of the English Regions; how many (a) UK and (b) foreign tourists (i) there were in each of the four ERTBs in each of the last five years and (ii) there are predicted to be over the next three years; how much Government funding each of the ERTBs will receive in 2003–04; and whether funding is adjusted according to local authority spending on tourism. [114018]

The Regional Tourist Boards (RTBs) are not Government organisations and their geographical boundaries are for them to decide in consultation with their membership. They are the natural partners of the Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) for the development and implementation of Regional Sustainable Tourism Strategies. The question of the coterminousness of RTB and RDA boundaries

Development agencyAmountTourist board
East of England Development Agency543,000Covering East of England RTB
Advantage West Midlands252,00050 per cent. contribution to Visit Heart of England RTB
East Midlands Development Agency252,00050 per cent. contribution to Visit Heart of England RTB
One North East333,000Covering Northumbria RTB
South East England Development Agency744,000Covering Southern and South East RTB
South West England Regional Development Agency403,000Covering South West RTB
Yorkshire Forward360,000Covering Yorkshire Tourist Board
North West Regional Development Agency713,000337,000 for Cumbria RTB and 376,000 for North West RTB)
Figures for UK and overseas visitors to the regions (including London) are as follows:

Number of visits by UK and Overseas tourists to each RTB area in each of the last three years1
UK residents—tripsOverseas residents—visits
RTB Area200020012002200020012002
North West14.813.714.
Heart of England23.422.
East of England13.
South West18.619.821.
South East212.112.610.
1 Data taken from the UK tourism survey for domestic tourism and the International Passenger Survey for visits from overseas residents.
2 Merged with effect from 1 April 2003.
It is not possible to compare regional data before 2000 with data from 2000 onwards because of changes in the UK Tourism Survey methodology and regional boundary changes, both of which affected survey results.Regional breakdowns of estimates of future visitor numbers are not available and cannot be provided except at disproportionate cost.

can be considered during the process of formulating those strategies, in consultation with RTBs and other RDAs as appropriate. Five of the regions already have coterminous boundaries.

Government funding for the RTBs, to be distributed via the RDAs single pot for three years from 2003–04, is a continuation of the funding the RTBs received from the former English Tourism Council in 2002–03 in respect of regional projects. It is guaranteed for three years at the same level as in 2002–03 and does not take into account individual local authority spending on tourism, some of which may comprise membership subscriptions to RTBs. There are separate arrangements for London and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport funds the Greater London Authority (GLA) towards meeting its tourism responsibilities. Most of this funding flows to the London Development Agency, which in turn uses the London Tourist Board as a key delivery agent. The amounts for RDAs to pass on to RTBs in 2003–04 are as follows: