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Volume 491: debated on Monday 20 April 2009

15. To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much funding his Department provided for the promotion of England as a tourism destination in 2008-09. (269397)

In 2008-09 my Department gave VisitBritain £47.9 million, of which, £8.46 million went on England marketing.

However this does not fully reflect the funding for all England activities because of ‘shared services’ like IT, HR and the fact that expenditure for improving the quality of our tourist accommodation and facilities counts as an industry service and not England marketing. In this exceptional year of restructuring it is not possible to give a detailed split between Britain and England spending for 2008-09.

In 2008-09 the combined VisitBritain/VisitEngland corporate services budget was £6.25 million.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues on policy to provide support for the tourism industry. (269388)

We have held a number of discussions with ministerial colleagues, including a recent meeting with my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Employment Relations at the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, to discuss business support measures for the tourism industry, and with my hon. Friend the Minister for Borders and Immigration at the Home Office to review the effect of visa processes on inbound tourism.

We will also be convening a joint meeting of ministerial colleagues shortly to discuss cross-cutting issues relevant to promoting the visitor economy.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the contribution of heritage in attracting tourists from overseas. (269394)

Market research carried out by VisitBritain indicates that heritage is one of the key motivators for those considering a visit to Britain. In the 2008 National Brand Index survey Britain is ranked as the 4th best nation (behind Egypt, Italy, and France) for built heritage which is therefore a real strength in our tourism offer.