01 May 1998

CULTURE SECRETARY Chris Smith plans to abolish the English Tourist Board along with its £20 million annual budget for promoting holidays in England to the English. Domestic tourism in England last year generated £12 billion in overnight stays, £10bn in day trips, and accounted for over 500,000 jobs, with England garnering 85% of all UK tourist spend. Smith’s plan, currently under review by the Cabinet spending sub-committee, does not affect the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland tourist boards, which between them receive thirty times more taxpayers’ cash per head of population than the ETB. Ken Robinson, chairman of the Tourism Society, and an advisor [albeit unheeded!] to Secretary Smith commented: 'The money being saved is peanuts in the context of government spending, but the consequences of doing away with the ETB are catastrophic for the tourism industry.'