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Sunday, 27 January, 2002, 19:36 GMT
Farm disease 'still harming tourism'
Lake District
Foot-and-mouth hit areas like the Lake District badly
The tourist industry in England needs "serious" funding to recover from the effects of foot-and-mouth, a trade union has warned.

Bob Cotton, of the British Hospitality Association (BHA), said foreign tourists needed "extra encouragement" to visit and that it would take an injection of government cash.

His warning came just days after two MPs called on the government to develop an effective strategy to help the "demoralised and struggling" tourist industry.

Footpath closed
Access to the countryside was barred for months

Mr Cotton, the BHA's chief executive, said funding for the overseas marketing was "wholly inadequate" and he called for a plan to promote England as a tourist destination for Britons.

"We have no serious funding to make any impression on overseas markets which, in these uncertain times, need extra persuasion and encouragement," he said.

Britain's tourism industry lost an estimated 3bn during the countryside crisis.

'Focused strategy'

On Friday, Liberal Democrats Nick Harvey and John Thurso put forward an early day motion in Parliament, calling for the government to develop an effective tourism strategy.

The demoralised and struggling tourist industry will sink under the worrying weight of their uncertain future

Nick Harvey MP

Mr Harvey, the party's spokesman for culture, media and sport, said: "If the government does not take urgent action to implement a focused tourism strategy Britain will not have the infrastructure to support visitors.

"The demoralised and struggling tourist industry will sink under the worrying weight of their uncertain future."

Mr Cotton said the English Tourism Council should have a cohesive strategy for promoting England - like Scotland and Wales, which receive central funding.

At the moment the English regions act individually, he said.

Mr Cotton was speaking at the annual conference of the hotel consortium Best Western in Blackpool.

See also:

23 Jan 02 | UK
UK not OK by everyone
23 Jan 02 | Business
UK bids to woo back tourists
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