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David Cameron marks holiday season with tourism speech

By Paul Goodman

Screen shot 2010-08-12 at 11.54.41 Not content with undertaking repeated "PM Direct" events in August, David Cameron popped up this morning to deliver a speech on tourism.  The main points are as follows -

  • Tourism's our third highest export earner, and presents opportunities to rebalance the economy.
  • But tourism's about more than economics - we should be proud of what Britain has to offer.
  • We need to do more.  Labour undervalued tourism - they appointed eight different tourism Ministers in 13 years.  "I want to see the UK in the top five tourism world destinations."
  • Nationally, "We’re going to be a government that understands the huge potential of our tourism industry that gets tourism and that gives the industry the backing it needs".
  • Locally, if Councils attract more tourists they should be able to keep some of the revenue.
  • Our corporation tax and jobs tax cuts, our stopping the removal of the tax breaks on furnished holiday lettings, and our new Regional Growth Fund will help stimulate tourism.
  • "Brits" should spend more holiday money at home.  John Penrose, the Tourism Minister, will produce a report in October to see if the proportion can be raised to from 36 per cent to 50 per cent - "but I want us to aim high not low. In fact, I want John to go further".
  • Tourism visas from China and India should be speeded up.  (And Britain should seek to increase its market share of Chinese tourists.)

I expect that some media outlets will run with the visas story.  During the speech, the Prime Minister reeled off a long list of his domestic holiday destinations -

"I love going on holiday in Britain. I’ve holidayed in Snowdonia, South Devon and North Cornwall, the Lake District, Norfolk, the Inner Hebrides, the Highlands of Scotland, the canals of Staffordshire to name just a few."

It would be surprising if at least part of Cameron's break later this month isn't spent in Britain - given the speech, the public spending scaleback to come, the Government's frugality drive (Ministerial salary cuts and car journey reductions) and memories of the expenses scandal.


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