Tourism is a key priority for the Government. That is why we are funding VisitBritain’s biggest ever global tourism initiative, the GREAT campaign, which is expected to create 4.6 million extra visitors, £2.3 billion additional spend and nearly 60,000 jobs over the next four years. In addition, a major domestic campaign by VisitEngland is expected to create 12,000 jobs over three years, with £500 million extra spent by tourists.
Recent research has shown that tourism in Buxton in my constituency of High Peak generated a massive £72 million for the local economy. Does my right hon. Friend agree that this demonstrates not only the huge financial and employment benefits of an effective tourism industry, but the fact that these benefits spread out to surrounding areas and all parts of the local economy, even those that would not necessarily be associated with tourism?
My hon. Friend should not be surprised at that level of tourism in his area, given the fantastic international festivals, the wonderful Georgian architecture of Buxton and the way that it has inspired so much creativity over the generations. All Members of the House should be looking at the way that tourism can help to support their own local economies because it has such potential for growth.
As I said earlier, the role of domestic tourism is more important at present than even international tourism so connectivity through trains, coaches and our road network is a vital part of making sure that we maximise that. I will take a particular look at any issues that the hon. Lady wants to raise with me with regard to coach travel because it is clearly an important part of the domestic market.
My constituency is the only place in the world to have given its name to an international game and we are working hard to derive an economic benefit from this by attracting visitors to the town. May I extend an invitation to the Secretary of State to join together her responsibilities for tourism and sport by visiting Rugby as it prepares for visitors during the rugby world cup, which is being held in England in 2015?
Again, my hon. Friend demonstrates the fact that tourism can play a role in a wide variety of towns—Rugby is, I think, the second largest town in the country. I will look carefully at any proposal to come and support the rugby world cup.
If one goes on holiday to Poland, France or Italy, it is nice to be greeted in the hotel by a receptionist who is from Poland, France or Italy. The same does not often happen in the United Kingdom. Is it not time that the British hospitality and tourism industries did more to enable young British people to get jobs in British hotels?
What is important is that hoteliers are able to use people who are best placed to support the visitors who stay in those hotels, whether those are young British people or people from other countries as well. I do not recognise the point that the hon. Gentleman is making.
In welcoming the Government’s tourism strategy, may I ask my right hon. Friend to say a little more about how communities who are close to major gateways such as Gatwick airport can benefit from tourism so that people can enjoy, in my local case, the fantastic entertainment and retail facilities in Crawley and the beautiful countryside of west Sussex?
It is right to point out that many areas of the country could be benefiting even more from tourism. That is why we are putting record levels of spend behind our domestic campaign to encourage people to consider Britain as the place for their holidays or short breaks.