Welsh Affairs

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 2:25 pm on 26th February 2009.

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Photo of Dame Cheryl Gillan Dame Cheryl Gillan Shadow Secretary of State for Wales 2:25 pm, 26th February 2009

I would have to differ from my hon. Friend in that I do not think that the hon. Gentleman was exhibiting any logic—logic of any worthwhile status anyway!

The Secretary of State knows that I think we need to secure future nuclear generation at Wylfa. It is not only a vital element of the UK's energy production, but is of huge importance to the economy and jobs in north Wales. I shall be interested to hear what the Minister says about this debate in his concluding speech.

Tourism is another element that we need to consider. In recent years, there has been a huge shift towards employment in tourism. It makes up 3.3 per cent. of the economic value added in Wales. The industry employs, directly or indirectly, nearly 80,000 people, and £1 in every £10 spent in the transport and retail sectors in Wales is spent by visitors. It is a key area, but our share of both UK and international tourism fell in 2007, which cost the Welsh economy an estimated £267 million.

With environmental awareness and pressure on family budgets increasing, there is a clear opportunity for our Welsh tourist industry. This year is the 60th anniversary of the legislation that enabled the creation of our parks. Why travel abroad when our fantastic natural assets—our coastline, forests, lakes, mountains, terrific national parks and our warm welcome—could attract visitors who will be persuaded to return year after year, even as the financial situation improves? We really need to capitalise on those assets; we require a robust tourism marketing strategy to attract visitors now and maintain their numbers in future.

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