The aim of the meeting was to ask the forum, which includes representatives from the local authority associations, the tourist boards and the industry, to identify priority issues and set targets for a new strategic tourism document that Mrs Bottomley plans to publish early in the New Year.
Mrs Bottomley said: 'I have always underlined the importance of working closely with the tourism industry. If we are to devise an effective future strategy, it is vital to talk to people who have first hand knowledge and experience of this rapidly expanding sector.
'Working with the industry, we have made enormous progress in addressing the challenges and opportunities set out in Competing with the Best. We have produced guidelines to help hoteliers drive up standards and profitability and ploughed £2m into a marketing campaign for London as the gateway to the UK.
'Our efforts have been recognised. Last year was an outstanding year in terms of visitor numbers and spend and we can look forward to further records being set in 1996. At long last we are reversing the ten year decline in our share of the world market. We are gaining the competitive edge.
'It is important to take stock of where we are now and consider targets for the future. I want the forum members to focus their collective expertise on setting targets for the future, identifying priority issues and devising a plan for further action.
'The government is committed to putting in place policies that will provide the tourism industry with a constructive framework on which to build and compete effectively. That is why I have asked the forum experts to help produce a strategy that will further improve our competitive position.
'Partnership is key to the tourism industry's future success. Government, the tourist boards and the industry must unite to realise our common goal. Our future aim is clear. We want Britain to enjoy the benefits of a thriving, competitive and above all profitable tourism industry.'
Members of the advisory forum include Judith Anthony (Association of District Councils), Ian McNicol (Association of Metropolitan Authorities) and Christine Parfect (Association of County Councils).