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Tourism: York

Oral Answers to Questions — Culture, Media and Sport – in the House of Commons at 9:30 am on 3rd March 2016.

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Photo of Julian Sturdy Julian Sturdy Conservative, York Outer 9:30 am, 3rd March 2016

What steps his Department is taking to support tourism in York since the recent flooding in that area.

Photo of David Evennett David Evennett Government Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

York, along with other affected areas, is currently being promoted with a £1 million publicity campaign, which was announced by the Prime Minister on 28 January. It is designed to encourage British families to spend their Easter holidays in the north of England. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State also launched Virgin Trains 30% discount offer on 1 February, as part of his visit to York to promote the city and its wider region as open for business.

Photo of Julian Sturdy Julian Sturdy Conservative, York Outer

I thank the Minister for his detailed response. About 200 businesses in York were flooded after Christmas, and thankfully many are now getting back on their feet. Building on what he said about the recent VisitEngland campaign to encourage families to visit northern tourist destinations such as York, will he consider providing individual grants so that local tourist attractions can market themselves and let everyone know that they are open for business again?

Photo of David Evennett David Evennett Government Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

I know how assiduous my hon. Friend is in his commitment to the area. I am really pleased that York is open for business following the recent floods and welcoming visitors back. Tourism businesses in flood-affected areas that were directly or indirectly impacted are eligible for the £5 million recovery fund from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and businesses can use those grants to help promote themselves. VisitBritain and VisitEngland are in dialogue with specific flood-affected businesses to spread the message about the areas that are open for business and ready to receive visitors.

Photo of Rachael Maskell Rachael Maskell Shadow Minister (Defence)

It is 1,000 years since King Canute’s accession to the throne. “Campaign Canute” is trying to raise £2 million so that

Jorvik Viking Centre can reopen before 2017. What additional support can the Minister bring to that major tourist attraction in York?

Photo of David Evennett David Evennett Government Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

The Government’s first priority, of course, has been to deal with the physical impact of the floods themselves in the short term, and we have worked hard to make that happen. We now need to make sure that businesses that were affected attract the bookings that they need over the next few months. I have been to the Jorvik Viking Centre myself in the past and was very impressed with it, and I look forward to going again in the future. VisitEngland and VisitBritain are in discussions with such businesses and are using all their channels to support affected areas.