The Mid Worcestershire MP writes for the Standard.
DURING English Tourism Week and in my capacity as tourism minister I have been busy promoting one of our largest and most successful industry sectors.
Just before the pandemic, tourism in England alone generated over £100bn a year and sustained over 3million jobs.
It is vitally important we get the sector thriving once again, and so I’ve been focused on the recovery of our domestic and inbound tourism sectors, engaging with stakeholders, and promoting our amazing heritage and the UK’s many impressive visitor attractions.
Several are right here in Worcestershire, ready and waiting to welcome you back.
There’s the Broadway Tower, Avoncroft Museum, Harvington Hall, The Swan Theatre, Droitwich Spa Lido, Evesham Almonry, the Severn Valley Railway and much more.
We also have some of the best pubs and scenery you will find in the country – or indeed the world.
A full range of attractions can be found on the Visit Worcestershire website and I hope you will be able to enjoy one of our many local attractions.
Heading further afield, I was fortunate to be able to visit Stonehenge as well as attractions at Blackpool including a walk down Madam Tussaud’s recreation of Coronation Street, complete with waxwork models of Jack and Vera Duckworth!
I was in town both to promote English Tourism Week, but also to hear from the Prime Minister and other ministerial colleagues at the Conservative Party’s Spring Conference where Ukraine weighed heavily on all our minds.
The unjust and brutal invasion by Vladimir Putin must fail. I was fortunate to be in the House of Commons to hear the speech by the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, which had an impact on everyone present and our heart goes out to our Ukrainian friends whenever we turn on the TV or open a newspaper or website and see the scenes of horror.
In my role as sports minister I have been actively engaged with other sports ministers from around the world to ensure sports are able to stand up for Ukraine and against Putin – resulting in many global sporting boycotts of Russian and Belarus teams.
Here at home the government has applied sanctions to Roman Abramovic, unfortunately meaning that Chelsea Football Club can now only operate under a special licence. No government wants to impact sport in this way, but it is necessary as we stand together as a country in support of Ukraine.
I also want to take the opportunity to thank communities and individuals across Worcestershire who have registered as potential hosts under the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme, which went live last week.
Many others have donated money, goods or participated in fund-raising events.
It is clear to me our local communities have yet again stepped up in a magnificent way.