Wil Nigel last six months?

By | Category: Travel rumblings

The UK has another tourism minister.

Britain is great goes the promotion. But is the tourism minister given great status?

Regular readers may want to turn away now because they know what I’m about to say so I shall be brief (as brief as I ever am) and annoyed.

The appointment of Nigel Huddlestone is the 10th in 10 years if you include David Evennett who was appointed to cover the maternity cover of Tracey Crouch. Neither of the last two ministers, Helen Whateley and Rebecca Pow, managed to hold the job down for six months suggesting that by the time they left the job they hardly knew more about it than when they arrived.

Compare that to Fiona Hyslop in Scotland who has just been moved from the tourism brief after nine years in the job. Her successor – Fergus Ewing – adds the tourism brief to his existing rural affairs portfolio but he had been a tourism minister a couple of years ago so he brings experience to the role.

In Scotland the role of tourism minister has cabinet status; in Wales it has a junior ministerial role and in Northern Ireland, it is part of the brief of the Department for the Economy. In Ireland, tourism is a cabinet position.

But in the UK government?

It is one of lowliest of jobs, one that successive prime ministers seem to regard as being pretty insignificant which also seems to be the view of parliamentarians. They probably see it as a step up the ladder to more important jobs.

But tourism is important. Vital for the economy and jobs as many other countries have shown. And the UK will see when 400,000 Chinese that might have been expected to visit this year don’t come.

But the UK government (and many MP’s) despite words and speeches they might make still look at it as being of minor importance!

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