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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 April, 2003, 16:27 GMT 17:27 UK
Holidaymakers 'should stay home'
Sunbathers at Eastbourne
The UK offers plenty, Dr Howells says
Britons should take a leaf out of Germans' books by holidaying at home this Easter, according to Tourism Minister Kim Howells.

Almost two million people are expected to head abroad for the weekend on budget flights, despite days of uncommonly warm weather.

But Dr Howells wants holidaymakers to take a second break on their own turf, like their continental counterparts.

He earlier forecast this weekend - a key date in tourist operators' calendar - would be a record-breaking Easter for British resorts.

'Glories'

"We should acknowledge people now are used to travelling abroad," Dr Howells said.

Dr Howells wants
There is a very big market that is untapped
Kim Howells MP
"But, all too often, they don't acknowledge the glories on their own doorstep.

"Wales has got such a fantastic concentration of castles and beaches.

"We don't have to queue up at sweaty airports or be worried about international terrorism; this is a good palce to take a holiday.

"We've got to remind travel agents there is a very big market that is untapped in this country.

"The number of jobs that creates is pretty phenomenal."

'Phenomenal'

Dr Howells conceded that 80% of UK tourism revenue comes from domestic travel, but said "the problem is, the really high spend goes abroad".

"When you stay somewhere, you spend much more money than if you went on a daytrip for example.

"The number of jobs that creates is pretty phenomenal."

Hundreds of thousands of Britons were gearing up for Friday's annual big getaway, but were already affected on Thursday by a 24-hour rail guards' strike.

Dr Howells said guards were denying families the opportunity to travel, boosting the economy at a time of international strife.

He urged them to "have a think about it".


SEE ALSO:
Easter heatwave to fade
17 Apr 03  |  UK
Tourism boost for seaside resorts
17 Apr 03  |  North east


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