HC Deb 03 December 1985 vol 88 cc178-80W
18. Mr. Butterfill

asked the Paymaster General what he is doing to seek to encourage the dispersal of visitors out of the capital and into other parts of the United Kingdom.

Mr. Trippier

We are providing £150,000 towards the cost of a new British travel centre in London which the British Tourist Authority with British Rail and other partners hope to open by the start of next season. The BTA will continue, in its many marketing and advertising schemes, to encourage our overseas tourists to visit places outside of London. As announced in the White Paper on airport policy, the Government are putting increased emphasis on regional airports in international negotiations on traffic rights.

37. Sir Peter Blaker

asked the Paymaster General what action he intends to take to seek to achieve the objectives set out in "Pleasure, Leisure and Jobs."

Mr. Trippier

Work is continuing on the points for action listed in the report with the aim of agreeing improvements in time for the 1986 tourist season. Good progress has already been achieved on some points. For example, the introduction of the new voluntary hotel classification scheme and the agreement between the British Tourist Authority, British Rail and other partners to set up a new British travel centre in London next year. Many other action points are the responsibility of colleagues in other Departments. My right hon. and noble Friend will chair periodic meetings of colleagues to progress further the objectives of the "Pleasure, Leisure and Jobs" report and to discuss any new obstacles to tourism's development which may emerge. Steps have also been taken to improve co-ordination of Government policies at regional level.

42. Mr. Maclean

asked the Paymaster General if he intends to increase the funding of the English Tourist Board.

Mr. Trippier

Yes, but I cannot give a precise amount at this stage. We are increasing the total funding for the British Tourist Authority and English Tourist Board, including section 4, next year by some 20 per cent. to £40 million. Discussions will be held with the boards to decide how the money should be spent.

45. Mr. Ottaway

asked the Paymaster General if he will increase the funding of the regional tourist boards.

Mr. Trippier

The English regional tourist boards, which are non-statutory, receive Government funds through the English Tourist Board. The boards' needs will be taken into account when we consider the future level of the ETB's grant-in-aid, an how the additional funding which we have announced for tourism will be apportioned between the ETB and the British Tourist Authority.

47. Mr. Holt

asked the Paymaster General how many tourists it is estimated visited England in each of the past five years from Australia and New Zealand.

Mr. Trippier

The figures are as follows:

Tourist visits* to England† by Australian and New Zealand residents
Australia New Zealand
Thousands Thousands
1980 374 80
1981 298 59
1982 348 66
1983 323 75
1984 441 92
* All visits for leisure or business reasons for a period of less than a year.
†Estimates covering tourists visiting the United Kingdom who spent all or part of their visit in England.

48. Mr. Lewis Stevens

asked the Paymaster General how many businesses have been assisted by funding through section 4 of the Development of Tourism Act.

Mr. Trippier

Since the inception of the scheme, the English Tourist Board, which is responsible for administering the section 4 scheme in England, has approved assistance for 3,175 projects, of which nearly half have been approved since the scheme was extended beyond the assisted areas in August 1982. The ETB estimates that almost all of the projects assisted were for private sector businesses. My right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland and for Wales are responsible for section 4 assistance for projects in their respective countries.

82. Mr. John Townend

asked the Paymaster General if he intends to reduce bureaucratic burdens which constrain small firms connected with tourism.

Mr. Trippier

The White Paper "Lifting the Burden" (Cmnd. 9571) indicated our intention to reduce further the burdens of business, particularly on small firms including those involved in tourism. The report "Pleasure, Leisure and Jobs—the Business of Tourism" signalled our firm intention to remove unnecessary obstacles to the further development of tourism, with an emphasis on action to come into effect in the 1986 tourist season.