New UK Tourism Minister Evokes Mixed Response

The announcement that Hugh Robertson will be the new tourism minister for the UK, following the resignation of John Penrose in a cabinet reshuffle, has drawn a mixed response from the tourism industry.

Robertson will be taking up his new position, overseeing the sport, Olympic legacy and tourism departments, within the department for culture, media and sport in the UK.

Welcoming the new appointment, a statement by the British Hospitality Association, said, ‘The BHA is pleased that tourism is now included in the brief of Hugh Robertson, now minister for sport, Olympic legacy and tourism, and we look forward to picking up with him on all the issues that we have been discussing with department.’

However, Derek Moore, the chairman of the Association of Independent Tour Operators, a UK based travel association, said, ‘AITO is extremely disappointed to hear of John Penrose’s departure from the role of tourism minister. We, in common with other travel and tourism organisations, have lobbied for many years for tourism (outbound as well as inbound) to be taken seriously by the government.

To have tourism downgraded in this way after such a short period of time leaves us wondering if government really gives due recognition to the huge tax income it gains from corporation tax, VAT on tour operators’ margins, employment taxes and more via the travel industry.’

The new appointments also include former culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, who moves to the department of health, with Maria Miller taking his previous role. Ed Vaizey will continue to serve as the minister for culture, communications and creative industries, including broadcasting.