Oral Answers to Questions — Tourism

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22nd February 1972.

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Photo of Mr Robert Adley Mr Robert Adley , Bristol North East 12:00 am, 22nd February 1972

asked the Prime Minister if he is satisfied with the coordination between the Department of the Environment and the Department of Trade and Industry concerning the development of tourism; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

Yes, Sir. There is already full co-operation between all the Departments concerned; and they in turn work closely with the tourist boards and local authorities.

Photo of Mr Robert Adley Mr Robert Adley , Bristol North East

Is my right hon. Friend aware that some people in the tourist industry would be glad if the Government would do what successive Governments have failed to do, which is to credit the tourist industry with the importance its past figures merit? Is he aware that in the West Country, for instance, tourism is now the biggest employer of labour, bigger than agriculture and aviation, and that the British Hotels and Restaurants Association has just issued figures showing that 93,000 job opportunities are available in the industry? There seems to be great difficulty in persuading people, particularly in areas of declining industries, to change jobs into the newer industries such as tourism.

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

We fully appreciate the vital importance of the tourist industry, which is one of our major growth industries. I agree with my hon. Friend about the employment opportunities in it. At the same time, it is necessary to encourage training, and there are nearly 4,000 registered trainees in the industry as a whole.

Photo of Mr Edward Milne Mr Edward Milne , Blyth

Is the Prime Minister aware that the appointment of a Minister for Tourism is a long overdue necessity, and that such an appointment would also have the advantage of taking this very important growth industry from the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, who has had no other experience of growth industries since his appointment?

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

Successive Governments have examined the question. It is very important that tourism, aspects of which concern so many Departments, should come under a Secretary of State who can speak for it in the Cabinet.