§ Mr. Joseph Dean
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what plans he has for ensuring that United Kingdom tourism resources are fully developed.
§ Mr. Shore
The Secretaries of State for Scotland and for Wales and I have noted with great satisfaction the progress made since the then Labour Government introduced the Development of Tourism Act in 1969. Our annual earnings from overseas tourists approach £700 million.
We have now concluded that if the high importance of tourism for our balance of payments and for our regional economies is to be brought into focus with the environmental and financial constraints of the foreseeable future, fresh decisions are necessary in respect of the assistance given to the industry under the Act through the British Tourist Authority and the three national tourist boards.
The heavy cost of promotional expenditure at home and overseas needs critical examination. In particular we want to see how best to reduce generalised promotion and to do more to make known to visitors the attractions of Britain outside the popular centres and outside the peak seasons. Ways must also be sought of putting more sponsored activities on a self-financing basis if these are to continue, especially in the more prosperous parts of the country. We shall then have scope for shifting the 526W balance of Government expenditure on tourism and we are concerned to develop untapped potential in those areas which could readily absorb and benefit from more visitors—particularly in certain parts of the development areas with the greatest need of help—and thereby to stem the growing pressure on some of the already congested tourist centres.
The three national tourist boards and the British Tourist Authority have been asked to consider and report back early in 1975 on the implications of these conclusions in relation to their programme.