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Tourism: Exchange Rate

Volume 616: debated on Thursday 3 November 2016

5. What assessment she has made of the effect of recent changes in the currency exchange rate on tourism in the UK. (907006)

It is too early to draw conclusions about the impact of changes in the currency exchange rate on tourism. Many trips to the UK are booked far in advance. Thanks to our world-class attractions, heritage and great marketing campaign, July and August set new records for inbound visits and spending.

Since the EU referendum result, the pound has devalued dramatically, and last month the Conservatives were celebrating the rising number of tourists coming to the UK. Is it now the Government’s policy to encourage a weak pound in order to increase the number of visitors to UK tourist sites?

I appreciate that this is a Labour party attack on the Government following Brexit, but the British tourism industry is going from strength to strength. The softening of the pound is a welcome boost for that, but it is a concerted action by Government and industry that has been driving record-breaking numbers of visitors to our shores. The hon. Gentleman should welcome that, because the number of visitors to west Yorkshire is up.

The latest VisitBritain report showed that every £1 spent on international marketing brought in £23 in incremental tourism spend. Is that a good way to spend money, given the weakness of the pound?

We want to ensure that we have the best marketing campaigns to encourage international visitors to these shores, and I hope people will continue to get behind the GREAT campaign, because it is working incredibly well.