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Tourism

Volume 449: debated on Tuesday 25 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate she has made of the tourism deficit in the United Kingdom; and if she will make a statement. (87382)

The UK tourism balance of payments deficit was £18.1 million in 2005. This figure has been produced using a range of data sources including the UK Tourism Survey and the International Data Survey.

The deficit reflects a range of factors including increased prosperity and the availability of cheap flights. The UK is by no means alone in this regard, indeed, in 2003 Germany’s deficit stood at over £27 billion.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what initiatives have been put in place by her Department to increase domestic tourism visits. (87392)

Domestic tourism represents around 80 per cent. of the turnover of the UK tourism industry. My Department funds VisitBritain to market England to the British, as advised by the England Marketing Advisory Board. £10.4 million a year in grant in aid to VisitBritain is presently allocated for this purpose.

VisitBritain’s domestic marketing activities include the EnglandNet project, which provides comprehensive destination information for both domestic and overseas visitors, with facilities for live booking of accommodation and other services using the websites of VisitBritain’s commercial and public sector partners. A total of £10 million has been allocated to EnglandNet to date, including £2 million over the current Spending Review period from 2005-06 to 2007-08.

My Department also works closely with regional and local government in supporting and promoting domestic tourism, currently contributing £3.6 million a year to the Regional Development Agencies to support tourism in the regions, and £1.9 million a year to the Greater London authority to support the Mayor’s statutory tourism duties.

Support for the growth of domestic tourism is central to the consultation on the Tourism Strategy for the 2012 Games, which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State launched on 19 July.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much funding her Department plans to contribute for (a) marketing, (b) e-tourism, (c) improving the quality of tourism products and (d) skills and training in connection with achieving the target of £100 billion value for tourism by 2010. (87393)

My Department funds VisitBritain to market Britain overseas, and market England to the British and in some European territories as advised by the England Marketing Advisory Board. Grant in aid to VisitBritain under the current Spending Review is in the following table:

Resource

Capital

Total (£000)

2005-06

49,051

300

49,351

2006-07

50,051

300

50,351

2007-08

50,051

300

50,351

My Department also currently contributes £3.6 million a year to the Regional Development Agencies’ Single Pot in support of their strategic responsibilities for tourism in the regions, and £1.9 million a year to the Greater London authority to support the Mayor’s statutory tourism duties.

Marketing including the use of e-tourism, and improvements in product quality and workforce skills, are essential elements of the consultation on the Tourism Strategy for the 2012 Games, which my RHF the Secretary of State launched on 19 July. In these and other areas, VisitBritain, the development agencies, and the Authority are expected to have major roles in tourism’s preparations for the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.

The effects of any new work arising from the consultation on VisitBritain’s future funding levels cannot be foreseen at this stage. Levels of grant-in-aid from my Department to VisitBritain, the development agencies, and the GLA for years after 2007-08 are yet to be agreed, and are subject to the present Comprehensive Spending Review.

The consultation also seeks views on the possible effects of the games opportunity, and of changes in statistical methodology, on my Department’s strategic targets for tourism.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what support her Department provides to assist (a) small hotels, (b) guest houses and (c) other tourism businesses to enhance the skills of employees. (87394)

The Department is working closely with DFES and People 1st (the Sector Skills Council for the Hospitality, Leisure, Travel and Tourism industries) on a broad and ambitious skills programme.

My predecessor chaired two Skills Summits with People 1st and industry representatives to develop a draft National Skills Strategy, which is based on sectoral priorities of improving retention rates and skills levels for management, chefs and customer service. Agreement of a final employer-led Strategy is planned for the winter.

We also work closely with People 1st and industry to ensure full advantage is taken of wider initiatives such as Train to Gain, National Skills Academies and Skills Passports.

Given the nature of the tourism sector and the domination of small and micro businesses, these developments will be of direct benefit to them.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what Government support for the tourism industry was in 2005-06; and if she will make a statement. (87396)

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) provided support to the tourism industry via grant-in-aid to VisitBritain of £49.3 million in 2005-06. VisitBritain used this money to market and promote the UK to both the domestic and international markets.

In addition, DCMS contributed £3.6 million to the regional development agencies’ single pot in support of their strategic responsibilities for tourism in the regions.

A further £1.9 million was allocated to the Greater London authority to support the Mayor’s statutory tourism duties.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what support her Department provides to assist small tourism enterprises in the use of information technology. (87399)

My Department does not provide direct assistance to small tourism businesses in the use of information technology. Such assistance is available to tourism and other businesses through the Small Business Service.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what support her Department gives to VisitBritain for e-tourism; and if she will make a statement. (87400)

VisitBritain’s e-tourism activities are supported by grant-in-aid from my Department. These activities include the EnglandNet project, to which a total of £10 million has been allocated, including £2 million over the current spending review period from 2005-06 to 2007-08.

The EnglandNet portal is administered by VisitBritain and fully supported by the regional development agencies, which are providing partnership funding from 2005-06. EnglandNet provides comprehensive destination information for overseas and domestic visitors, with facilities for instant booking of accommodation and other services using the websites of VisitBritain’s commercial and public sector partners. The portal took its first live booking in December 2005.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what her Department's planned expenditure is on the tourism sector outside London in each of the next three years. (87401)

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) provides support to the tourism industry via grant-in-aid to VisitBritian (VB). VisitBritian uses this money to market and promote the UK to both the domestic and international markets.

The level of grant-in-aid for VB agreed as part of the 2004 Spending Review was as follows:

£000

Resource

Capital

Total

2005-06

49,051

300

49,351

2006-07

50,051

300

50,351

2007-08

50,051

300

50,351

It is not possible to provide details of VB’s grant-in-aid beyond 2007-08, this will be decided following the completion of the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review.

In addition, my Department contributes £3.6 million per year to the Regional Development Agencies’ Single Pot in respect of their tourism role.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many tourists visited (a) London and (b) each London borough in each year since 1997. (87254)

The tables set out the number of visits to London from (i) overseas and (ii) the UK where this included an overnight stay. Information is provided for 2000 to 2005, equivalent data prior to this are not available.

Inbound visits to London by year

Visit (all) (Thousand)

2000

13,145

2001

11,452

2002

11,603

2003

11,696

2004

13,398

2005

113,893

1 2005 data are provisional.

Source:

International Passenger Survey (ONS).

Domestic overnight trips to London by year

Visit (all) (Thousand)

2000

18,500

2001

16,900

2002

16,100

2003

14,300

2004

112,800

2005

210,700

1 VisitBritain believes the old UKTS methodology significantly underreported 2004.

2 In 2005 an improved methodology was introduced for UKTS therefore direct comparison with previous years is not appropriate.

Source:

UK Tourism Survey (National Tourist Boards).

In addition, London receives a substantial number of day visitors, the last Leisure Day Visitors Survey in 2002-03 recorded a total of 169 million to the region.

My Department does not have details of tourist visits to each London borough.