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CALLS FOR ENGLISH TOURIST BOARD DESPITE PROMISED SHAKE-UP

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By LGCnet political correspondent Robert Hedley ...
By LGCnet political correspondent Robert Hedley

Despite the government revealing that it was reviewing how to better co-ordinate public and private sector funds to market tourism in England, peers called for the creation of a tourist board for the country.

Conservative Lord Montagu asked if the government would give the English Tourism Council responsibility and adequate finance to market torism, in close co-operation with the regional tourist boards.

For the government, Lord Davies of Oldham said the government's strategy - Tomorrow's Tourism - did not give the English Tourism a role to market England. 'However, in the light of events this year and recent consultations which the secretary of state has had with senior industry representatives, we are currently reviewing the options for stimulating better co-ordination of the public and private sector funds currently spent on marketing tourism in England', he added.

Lord Montagu said that would be a step forward, but asked why England did not have a tourist board of its own to speak with it. The Britsh Tourist Authority co-operates with the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland tourist boards, which have their own rights, but England does not', he added.

Lord Davies said the regional development agencies had been funded to improve marketing of tourism in England.

He continued: 'We cannot be doing so badly because it is still the case that expenditure by tourists in England substantially outscores the spending in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Therefore, the present strategy has something to commend it'.

Liberal Democrat Viscount Falkland said tourism in England had a turnover of approximately£53bn. It was odd that the business should allow its marketing to be done by its subsidiaries - in this case the regions. It was now time to introduce a central marketing strategy.

Lord Davies said during the foot-and-mouth outbreak, which resulted in a decline in vistors, an increased role was created for the English Tourism Council in relation to marketing abroad. However, it was thought that marketing aimed at British tourists was best done by concentrating on the specific English regions rather than speaking about England as a whole.

Hansard 13 Nov: Column 449-451

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