HC Deb 22 February 1995 vol 255 cc352-3
18. Mr. Mackinlay

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what measures his Department takes to promote interest about Scotland's life and culture amongst the Scottish diaspora.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

A range of Scottish Office-funded bodies promote international interest in Scottish life and culture, although their activities are not targeted specifically at the Scots diaspora. For example, the Scottish tourist board's marketing and promotional activities continue to foster historical and cultural links in the United States of America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, where ties with Scotland remain.

Mr. Mackinlay

Does the Secretary of State understand that the monopoly that his Government gave the British Airports Authority over the principal airports of the UK means that people who wish to visit the UK always visit Heathrow first? Should he not have put some time, energy and resources into encouraging people from North America and Australasia to visit Scotland as the first port of call, rather than the overcrowded Heathrow airport?

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

I have great sympathy with the hon. Gentleman's point. Tourism is the largest employer in Scotland. We have agreed to contribute £20,000 towards the production of a British Council-Scottish Arts Council guide to the arts in Scotland, which is aimed primarily at overseas tourists. The Scotland international register is an initiative to encourage the private sector to develop contacts with distinguished Scots and business men abroad. We hope that those contacts will strengthen enterprise, development and tourism in Scotland.