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Tourism

25. Sir Sydney Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will make a statement about recent initiatives to encourage tourists to come to England. [158164]

Janet Anderson: The British Tourist Authority promotes England, along with the rest of Britain, as a tourist destination through its work in 27 markets overseas.

England accounts for some 85 per cent. of all overseas visitors to Britain (estimated at over 25 million in 2000) and around 90 per cent. of overseas visitors spending (estimated at £12.75 billion in 2000).

Recent BTA initiatives aimed at attracting overseas visitors to England include promotions of film and TV locations, such as the locations used in the forthcoming 'Harry Potter' film, English gardens, and sporting venues and events.

Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will make a statement on the work of the British Tourist Authority in promoting Wales abroad. [158148]

Janet Anderson: The British Tourist Authority (BTA) works with the Wales Tourist Board (WTB) as equal, strategic partners in promoting Wales abroad. The BTA has an Overseas Marketing Agreement with the WTB, which sets out their respective roles, responsibilities and working relationships in the overseas promotion of Britain and Wales. In addition, the Chairman of the WTB is a member of the BTA Board, representing Welsh interests and advising on strategic and policy matters whenever key decisions are taken.

Mr. Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what arrangements he has made for his Department to monitor visitor numbers to major attractions and tourism destinations in rural areas. [159347]

Janet Anderson: The Department of Culture, Media and Sport, the English Tourism Council (ETC) and the Regional Tourist Boards are liaising regularly with a number of tourism-related bodies in order to monitor the impact of foot and mouth on tourism in both rural and urban areas. The ETC also conducts an annual survey of visits to visitor attractions, although this does not at present have a separate rural category.

Mr. Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans he has to restore a marketing function to the English Tourism Council. [159346]

Janet Anderson: The English Tourism Council (ETC) was set up following the publication of the Government's tourism strategy, "Tomorrow's Tourism", in 1999. The ETC was given the role as a strategic body for tourism in England--undertaking research, ensuring quality, promoting best practice and innovation, overseeing systems for data collection and promoting sustainable tourism in England and wise growth.

The ETC has neither been asked nor funded to carry out routine promotion campaigns--Ministers have taken the view that the marketing of English Tourism is best undertaken by the British Tourist Authority for marketing the country as a whole to overseas visitors and by the

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Regional Tourist Boards (RTBs) for their particular parts of England. These arrangements are reflected in the funding agreement between DCMS and the ETC. However the agreement has recently been amended to enable the ETC to carry out marketing for the recovery plan specifically prepared for the foot and mouth outbreak. The ETC have received an additional allocation of £3.8 million to help restore public confidence in visiting the countryside. To date, they have set up an English Visitor Hotline, launched a national advertising and promotional campaign and, working with the RTBs, they are providing public information leaflets.

Arts (School Pupils)

Mr. Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will make a statement on encouraging more school pupils to participate in the arts. [158155]

Mr. Alan Howarth: Ensuring everyone has access to high quality arts education, from pre-school through to lifelong learning, is a key priority for my Department. We are working closely with partners on a range of policies to deliver this, including the Department for Education and Employment's £270 million Music Standards Fund, the £30 million Lottery funded National Foundation for Youth Music, the £130 million Spaces for Sport and Arts initiative, which will create around 300 multi-purpose sports and arts facilities for primary schools in some of the most deprived areas of the country and the new Artsmark award scheme which has been available to schools since January. We are also establishing 16 Creative Partnerships, targeted on deprived areas, ensuring every school child in the Partnership area has access to an innovative programme of artistic and creative opportunities.

Analogue Switchover

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the decision by the Italian Government to legislate for analogue switchover in 2006; and what discussions officials from his Department have had with the Italian Government concerning their decision. [159599]

Janet Anderson: It is not for me to comment on a decision taken by the Italian Government about a matter of domestic policy. However, my officials have had informal discussions with their Italian colleagues, which emphasised the differences between the broadcasting markets of the two countries.

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if the Government's criteria to be met before analogue switchover occurs will be applied on a regional basis. [159598]

Janet Anderson: The criteria we have set out for digital switchover are UK-wide. Whether it will be appropriate to proceed on a regional basis will depend on the speed of take-up across the country.

Digital Television

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps he (a) is taking and (b) intends to take to promote digital television; and if he will make a statement on his target date for the switching off of the analogue transmitters. [159601]

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Janet Anderson: Initiatives such as the digital television labelling scheme, the digital neighbourhood trials and plans to increase the power of digital signals on eight key transmitters have recently been announced. We will continue to work with broadcasters, manufacturers, and retailers on the promotion of digital television. The target timetable for switchover to digital television remains at 2006-10.

Richmond Park

Mr. Colman: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when he intends to open Robin Hood Gate into Richmond Park. [159692]

Mr. Alan Howarth: Responsibility for the subject of this question has been delegated to the Royal Parks Agency under its Chief Executive, William Weston. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from William Weston to Mr. Tony Colman, dated 30 April 2001:



Special Advisers (Overseas Visits)

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on how many occasions between 31 March 2000 and 31 March 2001 (a) departmental and (b) non-departmental special advisers have travelled abroad in an official capacity. [158557]

Mr. Chris Smith: During the period 31 March 2000 to 31 March 2001, special advisers in this Department travelled overseas on official business on four occasion; to Venice (Italy), Berlin (Germany) and Apeldoorn and Haarlem (Netherlands).

Appointments (Age Limit)

Tony Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what age limit is placed on appointments to public bodies in his Department; if this limit is mentioned in advertisements for such posts; and what the basis for this limit is. [158112]

Mr. Chris Smith: In appointing people to the boards of public bodies sponsored by my Department, we are committed to equality of opportunity and to increasing the diversity of those appointed. This includes the principle of selection based on merit which matches the abilities, experience and qualities of individuals to the needs of the public appointment in question. There is no age limit.

Ealing Studios

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what representations he has received regarding the future of Ealing Studios; and if he will make a statement. [159400]

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Mr. Chris Smith [holding answer 27 April 2001]: I have received 226 letters about Ealing Studios; 224 of which have asked me to consider adding some of the buildings on the site to the statutory list of buildings of special architectural or historic interest. The buildings are, in fact, already under consideration for listing and I hope to announce my decision soon.


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