HC Deb 18 October 1971 vol 823 cc364-5
29. Mr. Adley

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if it is the Government's intention to take steps to implement that part of the Development of Tourism Act, 1969, dealing with registration and classification of hotels.

Sir J. Eden

I am consulting the tourist boards and other Departments concerned, and am awaiting the study commissioned by the English Tourist Board, which is expected to be available by the spring.

Mr. Adley

If the industry is to receive the impression that the Government take it seriously as a major employer and a major earner of foreign currency, does not my hon. Friend agree that registration and classification should be pushed ahead as fast as possible by the Government, in spite of opposition from certain vested interests? Will not my hon. Friend see to it that the Government give a lead in order to extend to the tourist industry the encouragement to which it is entitled?

Sir J. Eden

I agree with my hon. Friend that the tourist industry should be given every encouragement in its work as an earner of foreign exchange. However, I think that he should recognise that there is an important study under way. I am sure that it would be sensible to await the outcome of that study.

Mr. Milne

When will the Government stop dragging their feet on this matter? Surely there is already sufficient information available on which to press the case for the registration of hotel and tourist accommodation, without waiting for the English Tourist Board. Tourist boards are waiting for a lead, and spring is far too late for a decision of this kind.

Sir J. Eden

There is no question of the Government dragging their feet. I recognise the interests involved. But there are differing views in the industry itself. I am sure that it is right to work out a sensible scheme which is commendable to the industry, and that that is the basis on which we should proceed.

Mr. Mason

I gather from what the hon. Gentleman has said that he is not against registration and classification in principle but is merely waiting for a scheme from the English Tourist Board. As he knows, that body is in favour of registration and classification, especially in the interests of the British consumer and foreign tourists.

Sir J. Eden

I am waiting to see the basis on which a scheme can proceed which is commendable to the industry. The present study will be helpful in moving towards that.