Tourism in coastal and island areas, including watching marine and other forms of wildlife, is an important and growing component of Scotland's tourism sector. VisitScotland is already actively engaged with other organisations in promoting its further development. The Executive consulted recently on a strategic framework for Scotland's marine environment, and asked for views on whether there is a role for marine national parks in better managing the use of our seas. Responses to the consultation are being evaluated and the Executive's conclusions will be announced in due course.
I am sure that the minister agrees that Scotland's marine environment is the envy of the rest of the United Kingdom and much of the rest of the world. Scotland's marine environment is an asset to our tourism industry, as the minister said, but its management is a guddle of more than 80 pieces of legislation and 35 public bodies. It has taken half a century for Scotland to catch up with England and Wales on terrestrial national parks—even though one of our national parks does not have sensible boundaries and has no planning powers. Does the minister recognise the potential iconic value of establishing the UK's first marine national park? Will he persuade his Cabinet colleagues to speed up moves towards the establishment of such a park?
I will persuade my Cabinet colleagues—although they will need no persuasion—to pay full attention to the responses to the consultation, as the Scottish Executive always does. I fully accept the member's point about the value of marine wildlife tourism in Scotland, which generates more than £57 million