Why have a British tourism minister?

By | Category: Travel rumblings

The simple answer is that we have a tourism minister to encourage tourism, to negotiate with other countries and make life easier for tourists whether incoming or outgoing and to deal with organisations involved in the promotion and practice of what has become a large industry.

Wendy Morton and Harry Theoharis in Athens. Image – Greek Ministry of Tourism

Or something like that.

But do we need one when ministers from the foreign office do the role?

This week in Athens at the 200th anniversary of Greek independence was the Wendy Morton who is officially called the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for European Neighbourhood and the Americas) giving her a watching brief over Europe and the Americas.

According to the Greek news agency ANA, Ms Morton had discussions about tourism. GTP – a travel trade publication in Greece – reported that, “The Greek tourism minister and the British Under-Secretary of State agreed to be in frequent contact in order to strengthen the tourism cooperation between the two countries.”

The Greek Ministry of Tourism website carries the same story about Ms Morton with Harry Theoharis, the Greek tourism minister but only in Greek.

In the B ritish Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport is to be found the tourism minister not that his role gets mentioned in the departmental name. As readers will know he is Nigel Huddleston, He is also an assistant government whip and, on the government website, the fact that he is a whip seems to be more important than tourism or sport is. With all that responsibility, Mr Huddleston is spread thinly. Maybe that is why Ms Morton was talking about tourism.

Nigel Huddleston, the UK tourism minister or -to give him his correct title – Assistant Government Whip and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Sport and Tourism)

We have in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office individual ministers covering the Middle East and Africa, Africa, South Asia and the Commonwealth, Asia, the Pacific.

With all that coverage do we need a separate tourism minister if each will chat about tourism on their travels?

On the other hand at least having one minister responsible for tourism might mean that he/she wouldn’t have to wait for colleagues to tell hem what was going on!

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