This year, English Tourism Week was held between Saturday 17th March to Sunday 25th March and as the Minister for Tourism I was at the forefront of efforts to promote our country’s thriving tourism sector. Tourism is a hugely important sector which contributes £106 billion to the national economy, supporting 2.6 million jobs- and it is also the fastest growing services industry in the UK.
I started the week off by addressing the Tourism Alliance’s Parliamentary Reception in which I praised the state of the sector and outlined ways in which I was working to promote tourism to our country – points I also made when answering questions in the House of Commons.
In Parliament, I also hosted a drop-in session with representatives of Visit England/Visit Britain for MPs who wanted to learn more about how they could support tourism and also the plans and projects in place to grow the sector.
On Friday 23rd March, Virgin Train’s Managing Director and I launched a locomotive from London King’s Cross, destined for Newcastle.
The locomotive is part of the Great Exhibition of the North – a free, summer long celebration of the North of England and all it has to offer – and the train was branded with the theme of the exhibition.
To cap English Tourism week off I visited the University of Northampton to learn more about the academic tourism courses that they offer and to speak to students on those courses who will one day be pioneering the sector! The University offers an International Tourism Management course which is accredited both by the Tourism Management Institute and the Tourism Society.
On Saturday, 24th March I also marked National Bed & Breakfast Day in Northampton. Millions of tourists from the UK and abroad get a great night’s sleep and a delicious breakfast every year, thanks to the hard work of these entrepreneurial small businesses and as Tourism Minister I wanted to say my thanks to a sector which contributes over £2 billion to the economy every year. To mark the day I visited Hillview Guest House in Wellingborough Road, Northampton – I was thoroughly impressed by the quality and service offered by this Guest House.