HC Deb 20 March 1972 vol 833 c1059
13. Mr. Lane

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what has been the average annual increase percentage in the number of overseas visitors to Great Britain during the last five years for which figures are complete.

Mr. Anthony Grant

For the United Kingdom, 11 per cent. per annum in the five years ended December, 1971.

Mr. Lane

As one of the benefits of Common Market membership will be a further increase in the number of tourists from Europe, particularly to historic cities like Cambridge, is it not obvious, if we are to take advantage of this prospect, that imaginative action will be necessary by everyone concerned in these cities, and will the Government do everything possible to encourage this?

Mr. Grant

Yes, the Government most certainly will. The English Tourist Board will also take the point.

Mr. Mason

I recognise that the promotion of tourism to Britain has been very good but development at home is still lagging behind. When will the Secretary of State implement the part of the Act which we introduced in 1969 which gives the Government power to register and classify hotels so that tourists can know the quality and price of the hotels

Mr. Grant

This matter is under consideration by the Government in the light of information we are receiving but I am not in a position to make an announcement today.

Mr. John Hall

The increasing number of tourists to the main tourist centres, for example, Westminster Abbey, is now making conditions quite intolerable. Is it possible to find a way of restricting the numbers who visit these places at any one time?

Mr. Grant

The problem of concentration in certain key areas such as London and Stratford is a matter for urgent consideration by the British Tourist Authority and the English Tourist Board, which are preparing plans to rectify that situation.

Forward to