asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they are concerned at the 6 per cent fall in the number of overseas tourism in Britain between November 1999 and November 2000; how far this reduction is attributable to the strength of the pound sterling; and what they will do to help the British Tourist Authority reverse this deficit. [HL828]
By contrast with the November figures, overseas visits to the UK in December 2000 compared with December 1999 are estimated to have increased by 8 per cent. However, the Government do not accept that such year-on-year comparisons of one month's figures are sufficient to establish trends. Whole-year statistics are more significant, and these indicate that overseas visits to the UK in 2000 are virtually the same as for 1999, while earnings from overseas visitors to the UK over the same period are up by 2 per cent.Ministers would like to congratulate the British Tourist Authority in particular for contributing to an increase of 5 per cent in visits to the UK from North America in 2000 over the previous year, and of 4 per cent from other long-haul destinations.