§ 28. Sir R. Robinson
asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps have been taken since the Conference on Tourism in May, 1958, to encourage the flow of overseas tourists to this country.
§ Mr. J. Rodgers
Since the Conference on Tourism the Government have taken a number of steps in several fields designed to promote the flow of overseas visitors to the United Kingdom. The details are necessarily somewhat lengthy and I will, with permission, circulate them in the OFFICIAL REPORT. All of these measures have a bearing on topics that were discussed at the Conference.
§ Mr. Snow
Could the hon. Gentleman pay some attention to the responsibilities of this organisation for the publicity which is presented to potential overseas tourists in this country, which is very old-fashioned and not particularly attractive? Is he aware that there are much better things to offer than vistas of Beefeaters and Guardsmen to foreigners as worth while their investigating in this country? Is he aware that The British countryside is not visited sufficiently by tourists?
§ Mr. Rodgers
This is a matter for the British Travel and Holidays Association. I take it that the hon. Member is referring to its advertising. Perhaps he would like to get in touch with it direct.
§ Following are the details:
- 1. The annual Grant in Aid to the British Travel and Holidays Association was increased for the year 1959–60 by £250,000 to a maximum of £1,050,000 and, subject to Parliamentary approval, the Government proposes to maintain it at this level for the years 1960-61 and 1961–62
- 2. The Government has entered into negotiations with nine member countries of the O.E.E.C. with a view to concluding agreements that would allow citizens of those countries to visit the United Kingdom for up to three months on production of a valid national identity card instead of a passport, associated where necessary with a United Kingdom Visitor's card which will be available without charge.
- 3. Arrangements have been concluded with the French authorities for passport-free day trips by air in each direction until Easter this year and discussions with regard to the summer season are imminent.
- 4. The Government has entered into negotiations with five Latin-American countries with a view to concluding agreements for the mutual abolition of visas. In the case of Mexico, these negotiations have been brought to a successful conclusion, and the Agreement has been in operation since the 1st January, 1960.
- 5. Facilities for the sale of duty-free wines and spirits to departing travellers have been introduced at three United Kingdom Airports —London, Prestwick and Renfrew.
- 6. The Government is at present conducting a survey of the views of a wide range of industry, commerce and agriculture on the desirability of a permanent extension to the period of Summer Time.
- 7. The Home Office has undertaken consultations with interested bodies on possible reforms of the licensing laws in England and Wales. A Committee has also been set up under the chairmanship of Lord Guest to inquire into some aspects of the licensing laws of Scotland.