Minister pledges to protect tourism sector in spending review

Minister pledges to protect tourism sector in spending review

Tourism minister Tracey Crouch has promised to support the tourism industry in the new government’s spending review.

Speaking at the British Tourism Hospitality summit in London yesterday, she said: “The government and industry need to work together.

“The spending review will be a challenging time for all of us and I will work to ensure the tourism industry is protected. I am extremely keen to hear your views so please do get in touch.”

The minister also praised the tourism and hospitality sector for putting its case to the recent tourism select committee inquiry.

As a backbench MP, she had been one of the authors of the report, along with the new culture secretary John Whittingdale, who had served as the committee chairman.

Now as ministers, they are in the unusual position of having to respond to the inquiry’s recommendations, and a response is due in the next couple of weeks.

“The government really does value tourism and takes it seriously,” she told delegates. You did an impressive job getting me and the secretary of state [Whittingdale] up to date about all the issues in the inquiry.

“Because of the evidence we received, some of us changed our minds. You did an excellent job of advocating for your industry.”

She highlighted how the industry was worth almost 4% of the economy, and the rate of job creation is twice that of other sectors.

“Thanks to the hard work of the hospitality and tourism industry, 2014 was a record-breaking year for inbound visitors and spend,” she said.

“There were over 34 million visits with almost £22 billion spent in local economies across the country. Tourism is a vital growth industry, directly contributing nearly £60 billion to the UK economy last year, up by £10.5 billion since 2010.

“But we aren’t complacent. More needs to be done to ensure it grows from strength to strength, which is why we are investing in tourism and continuing to work in partnership with the industry.”

She continued: “I want to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to the industry for its hard work and successes – the visitor economy is at the forefront of economic recovery so it wants to get recognition.”

She pointed out how her portfolio also includes heritage and sport, adding that the forthcoming Rugby World Cup would bring £1 billion into the economy and see supporters travelling across the country for more than a month.

“I hope they get the same sort of welcome that fans did in 2012,” she commented. If we work together across the areas [of tourism, sport and heritage] we can have a beautiful relationship.”

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