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Volume 534: debated on Thursday 3 November 2011

Visit Britain’s tourism marketing activities have been refocused to include a stronger emphasis on promoting the UK to potential EU visitors. That is in contrast to the previous Government, who took this important market for granted. Our most recent initiative is GREAT, a major international campaign announced by the Prime Minister on 21 September, which will promote the UK globally as one of the best places to visit, study, work and invest.

The exhibition of the Staffordshire hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold in Washington DC is a great success and will encourage tourism to the UK. Will my hon. Friend work with the owners of the hoard to encourage the promotion of similar exhibitions in European cities?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right: the Staffordshire hoard is a glittering jewel, both literally and figuratively, in the British crown. It shows our history in a completely new light and transforms our understanding of a particular period of our nation’s story. It will indeed draw many tourists to this country, and I hope that it will be involved in many international tours to spread that message more widely.

The vital south-west tourism industry says that the single measure that would make a difference to it would be an extra hour of daylight, particularly in spring and autumn. When will the Government fulfil their promise on this, and why is the Department not pushing much more vigorously within Government for the change?

The right hon. Gentleman will be aware that a private Member’s Bill on that issue is going through Parliament. He will also be aware that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has said that the Government do not want to move forward on this without the consent of people from the whole of Britain. That means that the people of Scotland, for example, must be comfortable with the move before we take it forward.

I congratulate the Government on the boost to tourism that will be achieved with the extra money from the regional growth fund. I also commend the Secretary of State for the amount of time that he is devoting to taking an around-Britain tour to promote tourism. Does the Minister agree that it is not just his Department that needs to prioritise tourism? It is essential that Departments such as the Department for Transport and the Home Office, in relation to visa policy, also recognise the importance of tourism to our economy.

I could not agree more. This is quintessentially a cross-departmental role that we have to fulfil. The Government’s tourism policy, published in March this year, deliberately included input from all those Departments to ensure that we were all speaking with one voice.