Skip to main content

Inbound Tourism

Volume 524: debated on Thursday 3 March 2011

We have already mentioned the £100 million match funding marketing pot that we have created with key firms in the tourism industry. That will be aimed at promoting and marketing the UK abroad to potential inbound visitors.

Returning to the issue of tourists at our airports, for many non-EU nationals the condition of London’s airports and the length of immigration queues in particular can be depressing. What reassurance can the Minister give that action could be taken, particularly for travellers from countries such as the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand who do not need a visa to enter the UK?

I am delighted to confirm that we are in close discussions with the Home Office and the UK Border Agency about trying to move forward further and faster with measures to improve the queue management for anyone with a chipped passport, which is a relatively new piece of technology that allows us to process people in queues much faster and verify their identity much more quickly, thereby getting them through in a much more timely and welcoming fashion.

Next month, the Turner Contemporary, which is set to become one of Europe’s finest art galleries, is due to open in Margate and we hope that it will attract visitors from all over the world. On the opening weekend, Network Rail is to carry out major engineering works on the line between London and Margate. Could my hon. Friend have a word with the Department for Transport to ensure that it understands the importance of keeping roads and railways open so that visitors can get to the attractions that we wish them to see?

Until my hon. Friend rose to his feet, I was not aware of that problem. I will take it very seriously and I look forward to discussing it with him immediately after Question Time.