The Culture, Media and Sport Committee
has agreed to the following Report:
THE STRUCTURE AND STRATEGY FOR SUPPORTING
1. Tourism is a vital part of the British economy,
as a generator of income and as a provider of jobs in the private
sector. It contains a great diversity of businesses, serving visitors
throughout the urban and rural areas of Britain. The tourism sector
has been the cinderella of Government-supported industry in the
UK, neglected in the past because of its diffuse and fragmented
nature and lack of coherent representation.
2. During 2001, the tourism industry was affected
first by the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) epidemic and later by
the events of 11 September. Visitor numbers and spend fell dramatically
in the UK during the outbreak and in the aftermath of FMD and
were further affected post 11 September. These problems galvanised
the Government into action and help was received by the sector.
The profile of tourism within Government and in the media was
raised and attention was drawn to the structural problems within
support for tourism.
3. It became clear that reform of the support structure
for tourism was needed. The Government's solution was the formation
of a single body out of the existing British Tourist Authority
(BTA) (responsible for the promotion of Britain overseas) and
the English Tourism Council (ETC) (responsible for the strategic
organisation of English tourism). Details on organisation, precise
functions and funding have only just begun to emerge. It is still
to be seen whether the new arrangements, born out of a response
to crisis, will improve the support for tourism in Britain. It
is questionable whether responsibility for tourism even lies under
the most suitable Whitehall department.