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Local Tourism Hubs

Question Time — Scottish Executive — Education and Young People, Tourism, Culture and Sport – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:00 pm on 16th September 2004.

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Photo of David Mundell David Mundell Conservative 2:00 pm, 16th September 2004

To ask the Scottish Executive what the funding arrangements will be for the new local tourism hubs. (S2O-3198)

Photo of Frank McAveety Frank McAveety Labour

Local tourism hubs will be funded through partnerships with other bodies in their areas, just as area tourist boards are now. That will include funding from local authorities, VisitScotland, Europe and tourism businesses, which will be charged for services such as marketing and quality assurance.

Photo of David Mundell David Mundell Conservative

Can the minister clarify what transitional funding arrangements will be in place between the time when ATBs, as they currently are, receive membership fees from businesses and the time when the hubs receive those fees? What will the arrangements be should gaps arise in that period?

Photo of Frank McAveety Frank McAveety Labour

We will continue to work actively on that issue and others as we develop the tourism network for Scotland over the coming period. On the issue that Mr Mundell raises, we are waiting for final recommendations from the working groups.

I assure the member that we are on track with our commitment to the reorganisation of the tourism network across Scotland. Many of the discussions that we are having with local authorities and private sector companies are part of our attempt to ensure that the resources currently in the system are sustained and that we can lever in additional resources to match those that were invested by the Executive for marketing. We hope to report back on the issue in the near future. I anticipate that, when that happens, I will come before the Enterprise and Culture Committee.

Photo of Elaine Smith Elaine Smith Labour

I understand that the new service-level agreements have been designed to ensure that the vital funding link between local authorities and networks remains strong. However, what input will local authorities have in the new structure to enable them to steer local strategies towards encouraging visitor numbers in their areas? I have in mind facilities such as North Lanarkshire Council's Time Capsule, Summerlee heritage park and Drumpellier park in my constituency.

Photo of Frank McAveety Frank McAveety Labour

I recognise that we need to resolve that issue over the period of the negotiations, which is why I have been meeting the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and local authority representatives and leaders. I assure the member that the local networks that will develop will be autonomous with regard to some of their resources. We want to ensure that those local authorities and other partners who invest money can demonstrate that it maximises local provision. However, the real trick is to maximise what is done locally while linking that with what we have nationally. That is the sort of integration that we are seeking. I am confident that we are moving forward in that regard. As I said in response to David Mundell, we are actively working on that issue and hope to report soon on the progress that we are making.