Yes, Adrian, there is a minister for tourism

By | Category: Travel rumblings
Tracey Crouch - tourism minister

Tracey Crouch – tourism minister

Finally, yesterday, The Department of Culture etc announced that Tracey Crouch had been appointed as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Sport and Tourism.

I had been feeling like Virginia, the little girl, who had written to the New York Sun in the nineteenth century wondering whether there really was a Santa Claus. Was there a tourism minister?

No newspaper I read and no commentary about Ms Crouch I saw mentioned the “and tourism” bit. All concentrated on the fact that she was qualified to talk about sport as she is a football coach.

The government’s own website was unhelpful for most of the day as well just noting she had been appointed to the department. Her own website had no announcement at all. It wasn’t until a press release from Visit Britain arrived calling her “tourism” minister did I begin to wonder whether she was really the latest in a long line of short-term time-servers who, for the most part, have gone on to do not much else. Of the seven ministers that have held the job since Just about Travel started, the longest lasted 27 months; the average lifespan in the job is thirteen.

When David Cameron came to power, he said how important tourism was. The three ministers in his first government had an average of just under twenty months each. That was slightly better than under Labour but neither party has done much to persuade any of us that they care about tourism by having consistency or anyone who has experience in it. The closest we got was having a minister or two who had a seaside constituency!

That Ms. Crouch was only ever linked with sport in the media comments seems, in my eyes at least, as though that is all she will be seen to be doing. But then her predecessors weren’t much better just seemingly being trotted out to introduce conferences, apologise for cock-ups about the transport at the travel trade’s World Travel Market and act as mouthpieces for the civil servant written answers in parliament.

When it comes to saying what has a tourist minister done for tourism you’d be hard-pressed to come up with a half-decent answer. Will Ms Crouch prove me wrong?

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