HC Deb 16 January 1978 vol 942 cc3-4
2. Mr. Holland

asked the Secretary of State for Wales whether, in view of the similarity in terms of reference and activities between the British Tourist Authority and the Wales Tourist Board, economies in public expenditure could be effected by eliminating the Wales Tourist Board as a separate organisation.

The Under-Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Barry Jones)

No. The Wales Tourist Board's responsibilities are different from those of the British Tourist Authority. We have certainly no intention of winding up the Board.

Mr. Holland

In view of the proliferation of QUANGOs in recent years, does not the hon. Gentleman think that the time has come to examine all such bodies to see whether they can be reduced in numbers where duplication occurs? In view of what the hon. Gentleman has just said, will he say what function the Wales Tourist Board carries out that would be impossible for the British Tourist Authority within its terms of reference?

Mr. Barry Jones

It would be putting back the clock if the hon. Gentleman had his way. What he proposes would not be acceptable to the people of Wales. In 1976 Wales earned about £300 million from tourism, including about £50 million from overseas visitors. The money invested in the Wales Tourist Board is well invested.

Mr. Wyn Roberts

Does the Under-Secretary agree that tourism is a very important industry to us in Wales and that on the whole the Board is doing and has done a very good job in promoting it?

Mr. Barry Jones

The Board is doing an excellent job, and I commend its work to every hon. Member It is often instrumental in creating jobs in rural areas which would otherwise have no hope.

Mr. Wigley

Is the Under-Secretary aware of the British Tourist Authority office that is reported to have a map of Wales upside down in its window? In those circumstances, does he think that any change should be in the direction of giving the Board more responsibility for promoting Wales overseas?

Mr. Barry Jones

I certainly believe that the Board has put Wales on the world tourist map. It is a thundering success.