HC Deb 01 February 1999 vol 324 cc585-6
9. Dr. Ian Gibson (Norwich, North)

How he has helped regional tourist boards to develop and promote tourism in their areas. [66768]

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

Regional tourist boards receive Government funding through the English tourist board. As I announced in December, more resources will be used for the support of tourism in the regions. The regional tourist boards will continue to work with the British Tourist Authority on the promotion of their region overseas; and with their local authorities and commercial members on developing and promoting tourism in their area.

Dr. Gibson

Does my hon. Friend remember the document "Breaking New Ground: a Strategy for Tourism and Hospitality", in which local councils were exhorted to put forward strategies on tourism and leisure activities? How does she envisage local councils doing that, given that some local councils, such as Norwich, have received poor settlements?

Janet Anderson

I understand how committed my hon. Friend is to the future of tourism, which is extremely important to the economic development of his area. We are pleased that the East of England tourist board has managed a significant increase in its allocation for 1998–99. The strategy that we are to publish on 26 February will take into account the need for close liaison and collaboration with local authorities and regional tourist boards. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has made it plain that we are doing all we can to get more funding for tourism into the regions.

Sir Sydney Chapman (Chipping Barnet)

Given the importance to the capital city of tourism, as measured in economic and employment terms, will the Minister tell us what role the Greater London assembly will have in promoting tourism? If, as I suspect, the assembly is to have a small role, or none at all, will she have a word with her two ministerial colleagues who represent London constituencies? If the London tourist board is to look after tourism in London, what is the use of having a Greater London assembly?

Janet Anderson

The hon. Gentleman is quite wrong: it is our intention that the Greater London assembly and the mayor will have a real responsibility for tourism in London, which is important as the gateway to the rest of the country.