INDUSTRY WATCH

Making Tourism a Priority

Interesting conversation with a British tourism official the other night. We were bemoaning the fact that the U.S. doesn't have a cabinet-level tourism post, or even a tourism bureau (and it's hurting the number of foreign arrivals). The British official said he'd recently been at a big tourism industry confab, at which the head of U.S. tourism (someone in the Commerce Department) said that she is seven steps from the President; in the U.K., the head of tourism is two steps from the Prime Minister. One more thing the U.K. is doing right: London is expensive, but the city is trying to make it less painful. Most big museums are free, as is riding the Tube during off-peak hours for kids under 11; VisitBritain.com; VisitLondon.com

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