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?
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.
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.