HC Deb 16 January 1979 vol 960 cc739-40W
Mrs. Renée Short

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he estimates that the hotel industry has sufficient capacity to cater for the 21 million foreign visitors in 1990, forecast by the British Tourist Authority ; and, if not, what plans he has to increase this capacity.

Mr. Meacher,

pursuant to his reply, [Official Report, 15th January 1979], gave the following information

There are many uncertainties in forecasting the growth of overseas visitors to Britain, all of which will affect the need for an increase in hotel capacity. Though Government policy is to place greater emphasis in publicising the attractions of Britain outside the main tourist centres and outside the peak season, the biggest impact of foreign visitors in the next decade will still fall on the capital. It was with this in mind that the British Tourist Authority and the English tourist board recently held a conference on tourism growth and London accommodation. My Department is now looking at future demand for tourist accommodation in London as part of the follow-up work to the recent White Paper "Airports Policy" (Cmnd. 7084). In relation to the development of new London hotels we shall be exploring with the GLC and other planning authorities the possibility of using sites in the docklands area and other places outside central London. But main responsibility for increasing hotel capacity must rest with the industry. The concessions in the last Budget on building allowances, which are now available to hotels should, however, stimulate new investment.

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