HC Deb 03 November 1955 vol 545 cc1188-9
13. Sir I. Fraser

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will state the number of overseas visitors to Britain this summer the principal countries from which they came: and the amount of foreign currency which accrued.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

The number of overseas visitors to Britain from April to September this year was about 760,000, an increase of 16 per cent, over the corresponding period last year. The amount of currency which accrued from expenditure in this country by these visitors is estimated at £78 million, an increase of 13 per cent. over last year. With permission, I will circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT the detailed figures for the principal countries from which overseas visitors came.

Sir I. Fraser

May I ask my right hon. Friend if, by and large, the figures show that the tourist industry is the biggest earner of dollars and foreign currency of all our industries; and, if that is so, will he and the Government take that into account when they are planning ways of engendering further dollar earnings?

Mr. Thorneycroft

It is certainly one of the biggest earners of foreign exchange.

Mr. Usborne

Does the Minister think that if his right hon. Friend continues to raise the price of pots, pans, glassware and what not, the hotels will attract the same number of visitors next year as they did last year?

Mr. Thorneycroft

I have every hope that next year will see a still further increase in the number of visitors.

Mr. Rankin

Will the right hon. Gentleman give us the figure of the net gain in currency, after allowing for the currency used by people holidaying abroad from this country?

Mr. Thorneycroft

It is not part of the policy of Her Majesty's Government to prohibit Englishmen from leaving the territory.

Following are the figures:

Country of origin No. of visitors
U.S.A 190,600
France 111,600
Germany 74,600
Scandinavia 54,400
Netherlands 44,900
Belgium 34,800
Switzerland 19,200
Italy 21,300
Central and South America. 9,700
Austria 7,800
Spain 6,200
Rest of Europe 19,800
Rest of world (excluding Commonwealth citizens) 15,700
Commonwealth citizens. 149,400*
*Includes British Travel and Holidays Association estimates for August and September.