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Church Tourism

Volume 536: debated on Thursday 24 November 2011

I was delighted recently to visit with my hon. Friend some of the historic churches in her constituency. As she is aware, the General Synod passed a motion encouraging all dioceses to support church tourism and to link with the wider national church tourism strategy. The Church is working closely with its entire group of dioceses and with the Churches Tourism Association to assist local churches in encouraging visitors, especially in the run-up to the Olympics, the diamond jubilee and Open Churches Sunday.

I thank my hon. Friend for his trip to my constituency to see some of the wonderful churches in east Kent, which are great tourist attractions. Is he able to introduce me to the people who run tourism at Canterbury cathedral, which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors? They might be able to do more to move some of those tourists to other beautiful churches in east Kent.

My hon. Friend makes an extremely good point. Our cathedrals attract thousands of visitors each year. We need to encourage those who visit cathedrals such as Canterbury to visit the many fantastic churches full of history and heritage in the surrounding areas, such as those in my hon. Friend’s constituency.