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International Tourism

Volume 735: debated on Wednesday 5 July 2023

2. What discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on promoting the UK as an international tourist destination. (905717)

Wales is a great tourist destination and only recently I spent a long weekend in Llandudno. I believe my hon. Friend was there. He has seen for himself what a wonderful place it is. We have some of the best beaches in the United Kingdom and some of the best mountain biking in the United Kingdom. It is a shame that as a result of the Welsh Labour Government’s decision to impose a tourism tax on overnight visitors, fewer people see it.

My right hon. Friend is indeed right. I went to Conwy Castle with my two whippets and saw the delight that Wales has to offer. I encourage everyone to go and see it. Tourism accounts for about £127 billion of UK industry and almost 4 million jobs. What conversations is he having with the Welsh Labour Government to ensure that there is a UK-wide approach to both domestic and international tourism?

It is deeply disappointing not only that visitors will face a tourism tax, but that those offering accommodation will face extra regulations and that those coming to Wales will be forced to drive at around 20 mph on roads that currently have a 30 mph limit. Therefore, people will have to pay more to come to Wales and spend longer getting here as a result of the Welsh Labour Government’s policies. I encourage all tourism operators to speak to their Welsh Labour Government Minister about this.

On the subject of tourism, is the Secretary of State aware that Avanti has decided to cancel further services into Chester and north Wales to coincide with the peak tourism season? Improvements have been dangled in front of us one day and then pulled away at the next opportunity. When will this hokey-cokey of train services stop?

I am aware of widespread concerns about Avanti’s performance. I know that my colleagues in the Department for Transport have spoken to the company about them, but it has also suggested that some of the old-fashioned working rules that have been worked out with the unions are hampering its ability to supply trains as often as it wants. All I can say to the hon. Lady is that my colleagues in the Department for Transport are well aware of the concerns about Avanti and have spoken to the company about them.