Tourist Industry

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3rd November 1975.

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Photo of Mr Robert Hicks Mr Robert Hicks , Bodmin 12:00 am, 3rd November 1975

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he is satisfied that there is sufficient liaison with, and understanding of his policy by, the tourist industry and the various organisations representing the private sector of this industry.

Photo of Mr Eric Deakins Mr Eric Deakins , Waltham Forest Walthamstow

The Government, with the support of the tourist boards, have sought to ensure that Government tourism policies are as widely known as possible. The British Tourist Authority and the national tourist boards are regularly in touch with the industry.

Photo of Mr Robert Hicks Mr Robert Hicks , Bodmin

Does not the Minister agree, however, that tourism has been one of our more successful economic activities in recent years? It is a highly fragmented industry. Therefore, if we are to prevent contact between the Government and statutory boards from becoming meaningless generalities, are not the Government obliged to keep in close contact with the various private sectors of the industry?

Photo of Mr Eric Deakins Mr Eric Deakins , Waltham Forest Walthamstow

I take the hon. Gentleman's first point about the success of tourism. It is one of our major earners of foreign exchange net and one which we obviously want to foster and encourage in every possible way. As regards contact between the Government and the private sector of the industry, three organisations in the private sector have recently been in touch with me. One of them has had a meeting with my officials, and I understand that another is producing a report. I reiterate that I and my right hon. Friend and other Ministers are ready whenever possible to listen directly to the industry.

Photo of George Young George Young , Ealing Acton

In the light of what the Minister has just said, does he agree that it was perhaps a mistake to confine his consultations on tourist policy earlier this year to the statutory tourist boards?

Photo of Mr Eric Deakins Mr Eric Deakins , Waltham Forest Walthamstow

No, I do not accept that it was a mistake. These boards were set up by an Act of Parliament in 1969 to be the statutory advisory bodies to the Government. They represent all the interests in tourism. Private tourist organisations which may have had some comments to make would have been perfectly justified in approaching the Authority and the tourist boards direct, as well as in making representations to the Government. However, we are perfectly prepared to listen to any such representations.