HC Deb 20 December 1999 vol 341 c520
20. Ms Bridget Prentice (Lewisham, East)

What assessment he has made of the extra visitors to and money to be spent in London and the UK next year as a result of the millennium dome. [102015]

The Minister for Tourism, Film and Broadcasting (Janet Anderson)

The British Tourist Authority has estimated the number of overseas visits to the UK in 2000 at 27.5 million. Of these, the New Millennium Experience Company foresees that 2.5 million will visit the dome.

Ms Prentice

I thank my hon. Friend for that answer, but I wonder whether she would expand on it. Given the success of yesterday's exercise, in which local people saw and experienced the dome and its contents, does she agree that, as there is a debate about not only a north-south divide but a regional divide in this country, the experiences of the local people in Greenwich and Lewisham will be greatly enhanced by the extra money that will come into the area?

Janet Anderson

My hon. Friend is quite right. The British Tourist Authority has estimated that, as a direct result of the millennium experience, an additional £300 million to £500 million of overseas tourist revenue will be brought into the UK economy as a whole, but that the halo effect of those activities could double that figure. I invite Opposition Members to join us in—in the words of the Prime Minister—celebrating a triumph of confidence over cynicism, boldness over blandness and excellence over mediocrity, and to get together with us to celebrate something that has become the international symbol of the millennium.