After just four months!

By | Category: Travel rumblings

I am about to have a moan.

the new tourism minister – Helen Whately

It’s another moan about UK tourism ministers. Regular readers will be aware that one of the things that irritates me is the disrespect that successive UK governments have for tourism. So, lest they are equally irritated I suggest they read something else whilst I continue this diatribe.
Rebecca Pow was appointed as the Westminster tourism minister just four months ago. On Tuesday she was moved on. She has moved over to DEFRA so barely had any time to either get to grips with her brief or make an impact on tourism.

Allowing for David Evennett providing maternity cover for Tracey Crouch when she was tourism minister, there have been twelve tourism ministers in the last twelve years. Pow had the shortest tenure whereas the longest was just 28 months by John Penrose.

During that time, tourism ministers have usually been of the lowliest rank – parliamentary under-secretary – which bears no relationship to how important tourism is to the economy.

In Scotland, Fiona Hyslop has been in the cabinet with responsibility for tourism since 2015, five years. Would that anybody in Westminster could stay that long, master their brief and be effective in supporting and advocating British tourism.

The new minister is Helen Whately, the MP for Faversham and Mid Kent and she has also been appointed at parliamentary under-secretary level. Tipped as a high flyer and no doubt very good at what she does, she has no tourism experience, seems to have little interest in it and, consequently, will need time to get to grips with the subject. Her interests are in health and mental health so why not move her to the health and social care department where her talents might have been better served? Boris obviously thought otherwise.

Her boss, Nicky Morgan who is the cabinet minister with overall responsibility for tourism hasn’t yet been in the job for two months and also hasn’t exhibited any great interest in tourism. Like her predecessors she will probably be more concerned with digital activity and the arts.

When oh when will we get a minister who knows something of tourism and who will stay in the job for a couple of years so that they become of use to the tourism industry?

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