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Parliamentary report on tourism

29/01/2003

A report into tourism was published today by the Parliament's Enterprise and Lifelong Learning Committee.

Tourism Minister Mike Watson, who gave evidence during the committee's eight month inquiry, said it would play a useful role in the continued development of one of the country's biggest industries.

He added that politicians appreciated how tourism had a vital role to play in the Scottish economy, and he welcomed the fact that the Committee had identified that the industry itself should take a prominent role in driving forward tourism growth.

Mr Watson said:

"Throughout my time as Tourism Minister, I have stressed at every opportunity - including in my appearances before the committee - that tourism is Scotland's biggest business sector, that its economic performance matters greatly to the largest cities and most remote communities. In short, tourism is everyone's business.

"I will now study the ELL Committee's Report on Tourism with great interest. My immediate impression is that it is a very thorough piece of work.

"I will give a more detailed Executive response on February 13 during the planned debate that day on the Committee's Report, and we will respond fully to the Committee's recommendations in due course.

"I have made clear that the challenge facing us all in Scotland is to reverse the long-term decline and re-establish tourism as a growth sector in the Scottish economy.

"This can not be done by any one tourism player. It will require a sense of common purpose within Scotland's tourism industry, taking a 'one-team' approach to building an Scottish tourism industry that is internationally competitive."