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Leaving the EU: Tourism

Volume 655: debated on Thursday 7 March 2019

9. What steps he is taking to help ensure the UK remains an attractive tourist destination after the UK leaves the EU. (909648)

The UK has a thriving tourism landscape. Both 2016 and 2017 showed all-time record numbers of visitors and spend, and we want that to continue. The UK and EU have proposed reciprocal visa-free travel for tourism, and the use of e-passport gates will be expanded to seven countries this summer. An additional 6.5 million passengers per year will benefit.

The B&Bs and caravan parks in Pembrokeshire are looking forward to another good season, but the concern I hear time and again is that poor broadband and mobile phone signals are a real hindrance. In 2019, who wants to go on holiday to a place that does not have a decent signal? Does the Minister agree that these 21st-century essentials are vital for a healthy tourism industry?

They are vital. Everyone wants to go on holiday in Pembrokeshire. We need broadband to work well. The Government have allocated £66 million to Welsh regions to support the roll-out of superfast broadband, and we will continue to work in partnership with the Welsh Government to support that roll-out. My right hon. Friend is absolutely right to promote Pembrokeshire’s wonderful assets, including its beaches and tourism vista.

Is the Minister aware that Huddersfield has more listed buildings that either Bath or York? Does he also realise that we have just launched as the first gigabit town, which gives us superfast broadband right through the town and makes us one of the most attractive towns in Britain?

The hon. Gentleman is welcome. We are very pleased to have supported his area in the way that we have, and we will continue to do so.