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Politicians targeted to help raise the voice of the industry

16 February 2007 by

The tourism and hospitality sector needs to target a hit list of 50 politicians to raise the voice of the industry in Parliament, according to leading figures.

A group of 50 backbench MPs could block harmful government initiatives such as increases in air passenger duty (APD) and the proposed bed tax, they said.

Speaking at a debate, British Tourism Week - Is It Worth It, British Hospitality Association chief executive Bob Cotton said: "In Scotland and Wales politicians understand tourism matters to the economy and it matters to getting re-elected.

"In Westminster there is a complete disinterest and lack of understanding in tourism."

Bernard Donoghue, head of government affairs at VisitBritain, said the industry must lobby government now because decisions are about to be made on future tourism spending and the 2012 Olympics.

Politicians need to be told facts such as tourism providing one-in-five new jobs and contributing 4% of gross domestic product.

"We do ourselves a real disservice by not talking ourselves up and by not coming together at crucial times, such as over bed tax and APD, and say we're big and we need better recognition," he said.

The debate was hosted by online travel news site TravelMole.

Irish tourism spend prompts English rethink >>

New VisitBritain role shows signs of neglect >>

Is there a plan for England? >>

Higher APD will deepen the tourism deficit >>

For more news and analysis on bed tax go here >>

For more trends and data on tourism and leisure go here >>

For more news on the London Olympics go here >>

By Daniel Thomas

E-mail your comments to Daniel Thomas here.

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