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Tourism (South-East Wales)

Volume 578: debated on Wednesday 26 March 2014

9. What recent discussions he has had with the First Minister of Wales on maximising tourism opportunities in south-East Wales. (903226)

The Secretary of State has had a number of discussions with the First Minister, in particular on the opportunities that hosting the NATO summit will bring.

Newport’s magnificent Tredegar House trebled its numbers of visitors last year, and visitors to the city’s Roman baths, amphitheatre and museum are at a record high. What will the Minister do to encourage more people to have the unique, enjoyable experience of a visit to Newport?

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister is clear that hosting the NATO summit is a huge opportunity to showcase the best of Wales, and particularly south-east Wales. I am delighted to tell the hon. Gentleman that my colleagues in the Wales Offices have recently visited both those tourist attractions and are well aware of the opportunities they afford for visitors to the summit.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar is some distance from south-east Wales, but let us hear Mr Angus Brendan MacNeil.

Surely tourism in Wales would be helped by action on VAT, as in the Republic of Ireland, and that would also help my constituency of Na h-Eileanan an Iar.

Visitor numbers to Wales increased strongly last year and they are increasing faster than for visitors to England and Scotland. There is no evidence to suggest that VAT rates are a deterrent for visitors to Wales.

The principals are present and correct and we can proceed with questions to the Prime Minister.