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Volume 458: debated on Wednesday 21 March 2007

11. What discussions he has had with the Welsh Assembly Government on promoting tourism transport links in south Wales. (127785)

My right hon. Friend and I have regular discussions with Assembly Government colleagues about a range of matters. Encouraging visitors to use sustainable forms of transport is a key aim of the Assembly Government’s tourism and transport strategies.

When my hon. Friend next meets colleagues in the Assembly, could he make representations on the Swansea-Cork ferry? As he will be aware, it has recently been reintroduced as a lorry service, but given its role in supporting tourism in the city, the passenger ferry should be reintroduced as soon as possible.

I will meet Andrew Davies, the Minister with responsibility for such matters, next Monday. My hon. Friend is right: tourists spend more than £8 million a day on trips to Wales, and about 100,000 people in Wales—around 9 per cent. of the work force—are employed in tourism. The reintroduction of the new freight-only ferry is welcome, but I understand that Swansea Cork Ferries intends to resume a full passenger service when it has purchased a new vessel. However, I shall discuss those matters with Andrew Davies next week.