HC Deb 20 December 1999 vol 341 cc518-9
15. Judy Mallaber (Amber Valley)

What strategies he is using to promote tourism in the east midlands area. [102009]

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

The measures the Government and the industry are taking under the national tourism strategy "Tomorrow's Tourism" will help to promote the well-being of the industry in all regions, including the east midlands.

Judy Mallaber

I thank my hon. Friend for that answer. Will she note the recent report commissioned from the heart of England tourism board showing that tourists spend £61 million a year in Amber Valley and support 1,900 jobs? That is a 50 per cent. increase in expenditure over the past four years, and is largely the result of the mix of countryside, historic buildings and, increasingly, our industrial heritage.

Will my hon. Friend also note that we do not have high-expense venues such as the Royal Opera house that attract major funding, although we have benefited from the smaller awards of the lottery scheme? Will she promote our industrial heritage as a major part of our tourism strategy? Will she especially consider an early promotion for the national heritage corridor in the Derwent valley from the tentative to the final list of world heritage sites? That area was a cradle of the industrial revolution, with the historic mills of the Arkwrights and the Strutts. It now has museums that preserve our transport heritage.

Janet Anderson

My hon. Friend will of course know that the designation of national heritage sites is a matter for my hon. Friend the Minister for the Arts. I will bring her remarks to his attention.

My hon. Friend is right to highlight the importance of tourism to Amber Valley. I pay tribute to her support for the development of tourism in her constituency. As she will be aware, all regional tourist boards have recently submitted proposals, which will form the basis of their work for the next three years, to take advantage of the additional funding that the Government are providing for tourism in the regions. Is not that further evidence of the Government's commitment to the development of tourism—the fastest growing industry in the world—in stark contrast to the record of the Opposition?