HC Deb 23 May 1994 vol 244 cc11-2
14. Mr. Jacques Arnold

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what analysis he has made of the latest figures on spending by tourists.

Mr. Sproat

Domestic tourism generated approximately £19.7 billion in 1992 while overseas visitors spent £9.2 billion here in 1993, some 17 per cent. more than in 1992. An all-time record 19.1 million overseas visitors came to the United Kingdom in 1993, an increase of 3 per cent. on 1992. There are encouraging signs that 1994 will also be a good year for the industry.

Mr. Arnold

Is not it significant that, despite a world recession, record numbers of tourists are coming to the United Kingdom and that their spending has increased vastly? Will my hon. Friend comment on the work of the British tourism authorities and the part that they have played, through their offices abroad, in that significant success?

Mr. Sproat

Yes, I am glad to acknowledge the role played by the British tourism authorities. Their role is extremely important, which is why we have increased their funding at a time of recession and cuts elsewhere. As for visitors, the number coming from north America may have been underestimated; there may be more than we have accounted for so far.