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Volume 561: debated on Thursday 18 April 2013

The campaign launched by a partnership between the GREAT campaign and VisitBritain will deliver 4.6 million inbound visitors and more than £2 billion of spending by 2015. VisitEngland’s marketing, including Holidays at home are GREAT, generated incremental spending of nearly £30 million last year, and a new round will be launched in May.

My constituency benefits from being the only place to have given its name to a sport that is played all over the world. My right hon. Friend was kind enough to accept my invitation to visit Rugby and see how we are preparing for the 2015 world cup. Does she agree that my constituency’s link to the game provides a fantastic opportunity for the boosting of local tourism in our economy?

My hon. Friend is right to draw our attention to the historic link between international sporting events and tourism. All Members should think about how they can promote the efforts that their constituencies are making to benefit from the tourism industry, which now supports more than 2.5 million jobs and more than £100 billion in the economy.

Britain’s musical heritage is one of the key drivers of tourism in this country. Liverpool is the most obvious example because of the Beatles, but we should also remember Manchester during the heyday of Madchester and the Hacienda. What is the Minister doing to bring such examples to the attention of tourists to the UK, and how does that fit into the Government’s strategy?

The hon. Lady is absolutely right. Many of our cultural institutions are going abroad to present a positive image of this country’s cultural and arts sector to potential visitors, but it is campaigns such as the GREAT campaign that can pinpoint cultural assets which reside not only in the south-east and around our capital city but throughout the United Kingdom, and can encourage more people to enjoy more of our great country.

15. Given that transport links are one of the Government’s priorities for tourism, what discussions is the Secretary of State having with those in other Departments about improving, in particular, rail links to our major tourism hotspots? (151755)

I know that the hon. Gentleman takes a keen interest in this subject. As he knows, we have launched an extensive programme to establish how we can improve not just rail links but other transport links throughout the country, and tourism has to be at the heart of those discussions because of its important role in the UK economy.