John Glen, the new minister for arts, heritage and tourism, has described his role as “one of the most exciting jobs in government”
In a blog for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, he also said: “These sectors contribute so much to our economic and social wellbeing, and representing them is a responsibility I will take very seriously.”
He said his priority during his first full week in the role has been to meet as many people in the sector as possible “to understand more about the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead”.
He has met Sally Balcombe, chief executive of VisitBritain/VisitEngland and Steve Ridgway, VisitBritain chairman, as well as Sir Nicholas Serota, chair of Arts Council England and Sir Laurie Magnus, chair of Historic England.
Glen also travelled to NewcastleGateshead to hear about plans in Tyneside for the Great Exhibition of the North next year, and visited Hull, the UK City of Culture 2017.
He said: “I have been struck by the commitment of the people I’ve met to improving accessibility, increasing participation and growing the positive impact arts, heritage and tourism has on our communities.
“Growing up in Bath and as MP for Salisbury and South Wiltshire, I’ve seen first-hand the benefits culture and tourism bring to an area.
“Hull’s tenure as UK City of Culture 2017 is also a perfect example of this, and I was delighted to see the transformative effect it’s having when I visited the city.”
He added: “I reiterated the government’s continued support to arts, heritage and tourism and my commitment to working closely with these sectors to enable them to thrive.
“I want to strengthen the links between these areas, particularly culture and digital. There is a huge opportunity to use these exciting technologies to open up access to new audiences.
“Arts, heritage, libraries and tourism have such a positive impact on people’s lives and on our country as a whole.
“These sectors are innovative and are continually finding new ways to grow, and reach new and diverse audiences.”