Several peers have spoken out in defence of the English Tourist Board amid fears that it will be abolished by the Government.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey, tourism spokesman for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, faced a barrage of questions in the House of Lords this week as rumours continued to circulate that the ETB will be axed shortly as part of a spending review (Caterer, 4 June, page 9).
In response to Lord Astor of Hever's question of "why they are considering" abolition of the ETB, Lord McIntosh stressed that "no final decisions have yet been made" about its future.
Lord Clark of Kempston said it would be "the height of folly to get rid of the ETB, given the amount of assistance the tourist trade provides to this country's balance of payments."
Lord Montagu of Beaulieu warned of the need for greater co-ordination with the forthcoming devolution of tourist interests to Scotland, Wales and the rural development agencies. "If the regional development boards have separate tourist policies, as may well happen, it could do great damage to tourism nationally," he said.
Lord McIntosh agreed that devolution "will have an effect on the operations and ethos of the British Tourist Authority." He added: "We have that very much in mind."