HC Deb 31 January 2000 vol 343 cc774-5
9. Mr. Gordon Marsden (Blackpool, South)

If he will make a statement on the matters to be discussed at the forthcoming tourism summit. [105945]

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

The tourism summit, set for 1 March 2000, will be a meeting of Ministers from a range of Departments whose responsibilities have significant implications for the development of tourism. Our agenda will include consumer issues and quality improvement, sustainability and transport, employment, and training and information systems.

Mr. Marsden

Is my hon. Friend aware of how crucial for constituencies such as mine is the link that the Government have forged between tourism promotion and economic regeneration? Will she use the tourism summit to strengthen the message to her colleagues in other Departments that more seaside towns should be included in those areas receiving funds under the objective 2 and assisted area status schemes? Will she also make sure that the Treasury is aware of the benefits that it, too, might bestow on seaside towns?

Janet Anderson

I thank my hon. Friend for the welcome that he has given to the assistance that we have tried to provide for seaside resorts, which is in stark contrast to the record of the previous Government. I assure my hon. Friend that the Department of Trade and Industry and the Treasury will be represented at our tourism summit. We look forward to pressing the case of resorts such as Blackpool and others then.

Mr. Nicholas Soames (Mid-Sussex)

Will the Minister, at the tourism summit or on another occasion, consider reviewing the very unattractive colour used in this country to point out major attractions? Will she see what she can do to come up with a new and more handsome colour that might be more in keeping with the exhibits that the signs point out?

Janet Anderson

The hon. Gentleman will be interested to know that the summit will discuss signage. I am sorry that he does not like the present colour of the signs. However, given the clamour for more of them around the country, I think that he is probably in the minority.

Helen Jones (Warrington, North)

Will my hon. Friend also ensure that the tourism summit studies ways in which non-traditional tourist areas, especially those in places such as the north-west, can benefit from the tourism strategy? Many such places have good hotels, and their good transport links enable easy access to the tourism areas. Areas such as Warrington, for instance, may have a lot to gain from the tourism strategy.

Janet Anderson

I have visited Warrington many times, and I agree that it has a great deal to offer. We are in the process of establishing the regional cultural consortiums, on which tourism will be well represented. The consortiums will work in close conjunction with the regional development agencies to ensure that regeneration in the regions is taken seriously at all levels.