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Tourism: Essex

Volume 508: debated on Thursday 8 April 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps he is taking to promote tourism in South East Essex; and if he will make a statement. (324390)

The information requested regarding the promotion of tourism in South East Essex is not held centrally. Responsibility for tourism in the regions was taken over by the regional development agencies (RDAs) in 2003.

I have therefore asked the chief executive of the East of England Development Agency to write to the hon. Member directly. Copies of the response will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

In 2009-10, DCMS contributed £3.4 million to the RDA single budget, in respect of tourism support in the regions. This money is not actually ring-fenced for tourism, but is intended to support the broader tourism promotion investment of the RDAs, which totalled £60 million in 2009-10.

The overall level of public sector investment in tourism from local, regional and national sources is likely to significantly exceed £2 billion in the current spending review period—2008-09 to 2010-11 (including resources made available for skills development).

In partnership with the industry and the wider public sector, the DCMS has a clear and coherent policy framework for industry growth. This includes branding and marketing; skills development; driving up product quality through accommodation grading schemes; and promoting sustainability and accessibility.

In addition a number of other DCMS programmes contribute to tourism. DCMS sponsors “Sea Change”, which has allocated £38 million to 32 seaside resorts, to support projects for cultural regeneration and the visitor economy. The “Renaissance in the Regions” programme is a ground-breaking initiative to transform England’s regional museums. Renaissance has seen an investment of £242.8 million from 2002-09 and it is anticipated that nearly £300 million will have been invested by March 2011.

Letter from Deborah Cadman, dated 8 April 2010:

As requested by the DCMS, I write in response your Parliamentary Question about support for tourism in South East Essex.

Support for tourism promotion in South East Essex is provided in close working partnership by Southend Borough Council, Essex County Council, and East of England Tourism (EET), which is funded by EEDA.

Essex County Council support includes:

featuring tourism businesses in guides, on their website, and in their tourism market campaigns

with EET, keeping local authorities informed about tourism issues and advising them on specific opportunities, for example hotel development

taking advantage of the Olympics to promote South East Essex, which will host the mountain biking in 2012 at Hadleigh Castle

representing South East Essex in its public relations work, including at trade shows

Southend Council support includes:

investing an additional £100,000 last year in its events programme, which aims to help extend the tourism season and promote Southend as a short-break destination as well as a day visitor destination

redeveloping its website last year and developing a new brand for Southend to help challenge perceptions and open up new markets

East of England Tourism (EET) provides regional and national level marketing for South East Essex through its marketing campaigns, successful website, and other services for tourism businesses.

For example, last year Southend featured in the following EET initiatives:

The Lets Go! promotion with National Express

a marketing campaign with C2C

Stansted guides and special offers

a double-page spread in The Independent

an Evening Standard press campaign

In addition, EEDA itself has directly invested in new cultural facilities in South East Essex, including Metal in Southend, and the Royal Opera House Production Park in Thurrock. We are also leading the region’s effort to take advantage of the Olympics opportunity, which we estimate could deliver a £450 million return for tourism for the region as a whole, with South East Essex especially well-placed to benefit.

Should you wish to know more about our work supporting tourism in South East Essex please do no hesitate to contact us.