On Thursday, 17th January I made my first regional visit of the New Year as the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism to Canterbury in Kent. Canterbury is an historic English cathedral city and UNESCO World Heritage Site and as such is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations, with 875,000 people visiting Canterbury Cathedral in 2017 alone.
As such, much of the local economy relies on tourism and it is important that in
areas that are so reliant on these industries that the Government supports and provides as much help as possible. As the Tourism Minister I take a keen interest in assisting those regions up and down the country that rely on tourism.
This is why it was recently announced that my Department (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) will invest £20 million into five areas in England outside of London. The money invested through the Cultural Development Fund will help build careers in the arts and culture locally as well as boosting wider investment and increasing diversification of the creative economy. In Kent, £4.3 million has been earmarked to help a University of Kent-led initiative to turn the North Kent/South Essex area into a world-leader for the cultural and creative industries and in the process support the creation of 500 jobs. To mark this, I visited the Gulbenkian Theatre to discuss how the Fund’s money can be used to support culture in the region.
I then visited the world-famous, and stunning Canterbury Cathedral. The Cathedral is one of the oldest and most famous Christian structures in England and is the home of the Archbishop of Canterbury, leader of the Church of England and the leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The Cathedral truly is a magnificent building not just for its beauty but also due to the symbolism for the nation and its rich history. It was just another fine example of what this country has to offer tourists.