Leaving the EU: Tourism and the Creative Industries — [Mr Peter Bone in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 2:30 pm on 17th April 2018.

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Photo of Christine Jardine Christine Jardine Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Scotland) 2:30 pm, 17th April 2018

That is not a point that I had previously considered, but I think it is well made. Perhaps that would help to alleviate the problems those industries might face and actually draw attention to some of them.

As I said, international broadcasters contribute about £1 billion to the economy. All of that economic strength—jobs, growth and potential—is undermined by Brexit. If our creative industries are not protected, world-class events such as the Edinburgh festival, Glastonbury and many others, will find that for musicians and artists who used to tour Europe freely, with no issues over EU crew, equipment licences or visas, the whole process will become slower, more expensive and in some cases not possible at all. Fashion, lighting and furniture designers will lose the benefits of cross-EU design rights. The video games, advertising, publishing, television and film sectors will lose access to the talent that is their lifeblood. Funding from Creative Europe is at risk.

If the UK’s creative industries are threatened, there will be an impact on tourism. As I said, the Edinburgh International Festival is the biggest event of its kind in the world. To put it into context, if we imagine the FIFA World cup coming to the UK every summer, we begin to understand the value and impact on the country’s economy that the Edinburgh festival has. In 2016 it was estimated that festival audiences accounting for around 4.5 million ticket sales generated £300 million for the economy, and that is not unusual.

The festival is the biggest, most high profile and most diverse in its scale and scope, with everything from street theatre to major orchestral concerts. Because of that, it offers a unique insight into why organisations representing our musicians, hotels, venues and performers are campaigning hard for protection against the potential damage of Brexit. The festival is regarded as one of the most important cultural events in the world. The Fringe in its own right is the world’s largest arts event, and there are affiliated events in film, art, books, science and television. Together they guarantee that throughout the summer my city is awash with tourists, often visiting the festival as a gateway to the rest of Scotland and the UK. Only the Olympics and the FIFA World cup are bigger attractions.