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Culture Media and Sport written question – answered on 27th October 2005.

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Photo of Mike Penning Mike Penning Conservative, Hemel Hempstead

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps her Department is taking to increase inbound tourism; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of James Purnell James Purnell Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Media and Tourism), Department for Culture, Media & Sport

My Department works actively to promote tourism both domestic and inbound. At a national level, marketing and other work to promote the sector is the responsibility of VisitBritain, which in 2004 received grant-in-aid funding of £49 million.

VisitBritain's strategy to increase the value of inbound tourism and visitor numbers includes focusing effort on those markets and segments with the greatest potential for growth. For example, investment has been targeted on countries such as China, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Poland, Russia, South Korea and Thailand.

In 2004 inbound visitor numbers grew by 12 per cent. on the previous year to reach a record 27.8 million, and spending by visitors was worth nearly £13 billion to the UK economy.

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