HC Deb 27 March 1985 vol 76 cc219-20W
39 Mr. Jessel

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment has been made as to the extent to which the arts and heritage act as a draw for tourism into the United Kingdom.

Mr. Norman Lamont

There is no doubt that Britain's arts and heritage are a major attraction for overseas visitors. While it is difficult to provide a definitive assessment, the British Tourist Authority's 1984 overseas visitors survey reveals, for example, that around two thirds of our overseas visitors had visited historic towns and churches during their stay and around one third had visited art galleries.

Last year the British Tourist Authority adopted Britain's heritage as its central theme for promoting tourism to Britain under the banner "Heritage 84." A record number of overseas visitors came to Britain last year — 11 per cent more than the previous record in 1983. This successful theme is being continued during 1985 with special reference to the 500th anniversary of the Tudor dynasty. The BTA will be drawing attention to a wide variety of arts and heritge attractions throughout the country in its promotional campaigns overseas.

41 Mr. Bevan

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what studies have been undertaken by his Department on the effects of the tourist industry on employment.

Mr. Norman Lamont

Economists in my Department have carried out a detailed study to produce estimates of total employment supported directly and indirectly by tourism spending. Provisional results from the study show that around 1 million jobs were supported by tourism spending in 1983. The final results of the study are expected to be available shortly.

45 Mr. Peter Bruinvels

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he is satisfied with the arrangements for the signposting of tourist destinations.

Mr. Norman Lamont

My Department is in regular contact with the Department of Transport, which has responsibility for signposting matters, about ways in which the signposting of tourist attractions and facilities might be improved. I particularly welcome the tourism signposting experiments which are taking place in Kent and Nottinghamshire with the co-operation of the Secretary of state for Transport, and I very much hope that these will in due course lead to the introduction of more effective tourism signposting arrangements at national level.

46 Mr. Butterfill

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what initiatives have been taken by his Department to improve the marketing abroad of areas of the United Kingdom outside London.

Mr. Norman Lamont

My Department encourages tourism to Britain through the work of the British Tourist Authority. One of the BTA's objectives is to give emphasis to Scotland, Wales and the regions of England in order to increase the extent of travel by overseas tourists throughout Britain. In its overseas promotional campaigns the BTA features a wide variety of tourist attractions throughout the country. It produces material covering particular regions in association with the English regional tourist boards and the national boards for Scotland and Wales. It co-operates with commercial interests in the regions through joint marketing schemes and representation at exhibitions and trade fairs abroad, and it is active in promoting conference centres in overseas markets around Britain, including Bournemouth.

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