Do you know this man?

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Jeremy Wright, the new Culture Secretary who has overall responsibility for tourism

This man is Jeremy Wright and he is the new cabinet minister responsible for culture in Theresa May’s new cabinet. And the culture minister has overall responsibility for tourism.

I have nothing against Mr Wright who has been the Attorney-General for most of the last four years. I have no idea of his thoughts on tourism. He supported Coventry’s bid to become the City of Culture in 2021, joined in the commemoration of the 750th anniversary of the Siege of Kenilworth and the 800th of Magna Carta but what he thinks of regenerating seaside towns, or protecting heritage sites I know nothing. All we know is that he tells us on his website which is that he enjoys travelling, especially to the USA. That’s a start. It could mean that we have an overlord tourism minister who has travelled.

My moan is that Jeremy Wright is the seventh culture minister in eight years since the Conservatives came to power. During that time there have been eight shadow culture secretaries. Wright is the twelfth minister in last twenty years and during the same time there were seventeen “shadows.”

Since 2010, there have been six ministers for tourism plus another who provided maternity cover. In case you have forgotten – or never known of them – they were Penrose, Robertson, Grant, Crouch, Glen and the current minister who has been in his role for seven months, Michael Ellis.

David Cameron said back in 2010 that tourism was “”fundamental to the rebuilding and rebalancing of our economy” and that “it’s one of the best and fastest ways of generating the jobs we need so badly in this country.”

Neither Cameron nor May has given any of the culture secretaries or tourism ministers long enough to understand their brief. There is no stability and anyone with an ounce of tourist understanding has been moved on fairly quickly.

Rather than being an important cog in the wheel of economic growth and generation, the impression is that the department is a dumping ground and ministers want to get on and get out as soon as possible. Only Tracey Crouch has stayed the course for as long as thirty-eight months in the culture department but during that time she had maternity leave and dropped tourism as part of her brief retaining just the sports part of her role. For tourism she lasted twenty-five months.

It is time both the government and opposition showed a bit of respect for tourism and the culture department as a whole and let ministers and shadow ministers really master their brief in what should be an engine house  growth department.

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