§ 11. Mr. Bayley
To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage when he intends to meet the chairman of the English tourist board to discuss staff redundancies.
§ Mr. Sproat
My right hon. Friend and I intend soon to meet Adele Biss, the new chairman of the English tourist board and the British Tourist Authority, to discuss a range of issues, but I see no particular need to discuss staff redundancies.
§ Mr. Bayley
Given the disastrous state of the balance of payments, would it not make sense for the Government to put more resources into promoting tourism in Britain, to encourage our own citizens and citizens from abroad to go on holiday in our country? That would help our balance of payments.
§ Mr. Sproat
Well, the hon. Gentleman makes a fair point, but, as I said in answer to an earlier question, last year the number of tourists in this country rose by 9 per cent. In the first quarter of this year, it has risen by another 8 per cent. on top of that 9 per cent. We have good exchange rates for tourists, low interest rates and low inflation. The tourist industry is doing extremely well. In those circumstances and in view of the economic constraints which we face, the actions that were taken were, on balance, very sensible.