Tuesday, 16 March 2010
End of Term at the House of Commons
To the House of Commons last night for a reception for the start of British Tourism Week. In her speech the Minister, Margaret Hodge, said how much she values tourism, vowed to keep fighting the Treasury on visa charges and APD and hailed Labour’s “free museums” policy as a success achieved. Her Tory shadow, Tobias Ellwood, promised that the Tories would create a ‘real’ tourism minister dedicated only to tourism (rather than following the ‘and’ in Mrs Hodge’s title), repeated George Osborne's objective to raise the proportion UK residents spend on domestic tourism from 38% to 50%, and promised to take action on ‘daylight saving’ (double Summer time) and other key issues the industry have been pressing on. I spoke to both individually afterwards. Both seemed especially eager to listen – possibly with May 6th in mind? A very “end of term” atmosphere at Westminster – another MP, about to retire, told me of his sadness at some of the “changes”. Quite a few useful and interesting conversations, not just with MPs but with other tourism industry colleagues - and I made the most of the canapés as I had missed lunch. I didn’t need dinner afterwards either – very economical!