Minister rapped over Which? Holiday interviewMargaret Hodge accused of bashing UK tourism
04 September 2008
Tourism minister Margaret Hodge has come under fire for remarks she made in an exclusive interview in this month's Which? Holiday.
The Minister for Culture, Creative Industries & Tourism hit the headlines today after saying that UK hotels were expensive, rush-hour on the London Underground was 'dreadful' and the facilities at Stonehenge didn't befit a World Heritage site.
The minister also said she liked to holiday in Italy.
Critics accused Mrs Hodge of bashing UK tourism. But although Which? Holiday believes there is much to celebrate about UK attractions, editor Lorna Cowan says Mrs Hodge has a point.
She said: 'We agree with much of what Margaret Hodge has said. Yes, there are some fantastic places to visit in the UK, but accommodation can be expensive.
'On my own holiday in Scotland this year, the average price per night of an average hotel was around £120 – I've found hotels in European cities to be much less than this.
'As for Stonehenge, when Which? Holiday visited the World Heritage Site for a report in August 2007, we were also disappointed with its lack of facilities. Stonehenge attracts visitors from all around the world, so it will benefit from its future development plans.'
In Mrs Hodge's interview, as well as expressing the concerns that hit the headlines, she also said the UK had some of the 'best heritage in the world and the most brilliant landscapes'.
She also offered tips on saving money on train tickets by booking early.
Asked whether she took holidays in Britain, Mrs Hodge said: 'We do. Mostly we see friends but I think there is nothing better than a good B&B....I also take holidays abroad. I like to visit Italy.'