HC Deb 08 July 1991 vol 194 cc629-30
1. Mr. Grist

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when he next intends holding a meeting with the chairman of the tourist board for Wales to discuss problems with tourism.

The Minister of State, Welsh Office (Sir Wyn Roberts)

My right hon. Friend frequently meets the chairman of the Wales tourist board. The next occasion will be on Monday 15 July.

Mr. Grist

May I urge my right hon. Friend on that occasion, and on others when suitable, to support the chairman's efforts vastly to improve the number, availability, cleanliness and visibility of public conveniences, the lack of which is a public disgrace?

Sir Wyn Roberts

I know that my hon. Friend has had correspondence on this subject with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. My hon. Friend will know that under the Public Health Act 1936, responsibility lies with local authorities which have the discretion about where and when to provide these facilities. We are certainly prepared to take the matter up with the chairman of the tourist board.

Mr. Geraint Howells

Why is the Wales tourist board denied the right to advertise Wales, its people, culture and scenic beauty independently overseas?

Sir Wyn Roberts

That was considered, but the hon. Gentleman will know that prime responsibility for attracting visitors to Britain lies with the British Tourist Authority. The Wales tourist board works closely with the BTA, and a report was recently commissioned on how the whole operation could be improved. I am glad to say that the report has now been received and that it envisages progress being made over the next three years. We should not underestimate the benefit that we get from using BTA facilities overseas.

Mr. Roy Hughes

Does the Minister appreciate that visitors are being sent to Scotland, London, Oxford and Stratford, but have never heard of Wales? Under the present arrangements they are never likely to.

Sir Wyn Roberts

The hon. Gentleman is quite wrong. If he visits any BTA offices abroad, he will see that Wales is prominently presented. Of course, there is no accounting for foreigners' ignorance of Wales or of any other part of the United Kingdom.

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