§ Mr. Lee
American visitors to this country are extremely important, but in normal years for every one American who comes here to visit about four visitors come from other countries. The air disaster at Lockerbie is bound to create a degree of apprehension, so the industry will have to work harder at selling itself in the United States. I must make the point, however, that the current fatality rate for United Kingdom fixed-wing transport aircraft, including the sad M1 tragedy, is one fatality per 3.4 billion passenger kilometres flown.
§ Mr. Cryer
Did the Minister see the delegation from the Settle-Carlisle area representing small businesses, whose members pointed out that if the Settle-Carlisle railway closes people will not be able to travel to cities such as Bradford and Carlisle, which will suffer a loss of turnover? They also said that in the Settle-Carlisle hinterland served by the railway hundreds of jobs in small businesses will be lost. In view of those representations from the small business sector, will the Minister tell his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport that the railway line should be kept open on the basis of keeping jobs?
§ Mr. Lee
As the hon. Gentleman knows, I know the Settle-Carlisle area well. With my hon. Friend the Minister of State at the Department of Transport I attended a presentation last week by the English tourist board and the consultants on the work that they have done. My hon. Friend the Minister of State is considering the future of the Settle-Carlisle line at this moment.
§ Mr. Nicholas Bennett
As the hon. Member representing the premier tourist area of Wales, may I ask my hon. Friend whether he agrees that what overseas visitors most want is all-weather, all-year, high quality accommodation and facilities? Will he direct his Department's policy to that end?
§ Mr. Madden
Does the Minister realise that about 20,000 men, women and children from the Indian subcontinent, Nigeria and Ghana are being denied the opportunity to visit the United Kingdom because they have been refused visitor visas? Will he conduct an urgent inquiry into the often bizarre reasons why those people are denied visas, in the hope that many more overseas visitors from those countries will be able to make the visits that they urgently want to undertake in the United Kingdom?
§ Mr. Gregory
Does my hon. Friend agree that more overseas tourists would come here if our tourist information centres were better located? In particular, will he examine the situation in the biggest gateway into Britain, Dover, where the only way to find a tourist information centre is to travel on the road out of Britain?
§ Mr. Lee
No Question Time would be complete without my hon. Friend raising the subject of tourist information centres. I know how dear this subject is to him and how 143 important he believes it to be. We have about 560 tourist information centres. They are of increasing quality and are extremely important to our tourist industry. I take the point about Dover; I have had a number of representations about it and I am looking into the matter.