MILLIONS of pounds are spent by the tourists who flock to England every year, but Government figures show that half of that money stays in London. 

This week's English tourism week sees the country's tourism agencies celebrating  everything the rest of the nation has to offer.

Here, Prime Minister David Cameron says why he backs the campaign to bring tourists - and tourist pounds - to Yorkshire, and to help city businesses recover from the Boxing Day floods.

I LOVE Yorkshire and the Humber.

From the historic city of York to the glorious countryside, this county is one of the many jewels in Great Britain’s crown. It’s no wonder it attracts more than 1 million visits by international tourists every year, and I’ve been there myself when I went to see the Tour de Yorkshire.

York Press:

Tour de Yorkshire riders cross the Moors last spring

This week is English Tourism Week and it is a time to celebrate all that our country has to offer. But it’s also a chance for us to build on that. Let me give you one shocking fact: for all the money that is spent by international tourists in our country, half is spent in London. That means there are millions of visitors who come to Britain and never leave the M25; thousands who never get to experience places like York Minster or Fountains Abbey.

This is wrong. Tourism is so important to our country. It creates jobs – 199,000 in this county alone. It boosts growth and attracts investment. We want the benefits of this vibrant industry to be spread more evenly across the country, so prosperity and opportunities aren’t just concentrated in London. That’s why we brought in a whole new approach, set out in my Five Point Plan for tourism.

York Press: An image of the Minster's restored East End, taken from about 60 feet up by High Eye's mast

York Minster's east window

We have already taken some important steps, like making the visa process easier for tourists. We are investing in infrastructure – improving our roads and railways – to make it easier for tourists to travel beyond London. And we have increased investment for our international campaign to shout about Britain. Called GREAT, it takes brand Britain to the furthest corners of the world, urging people to come and visit.

And because of our long-term economic plan to fix our economy, we’ve been able to fund infrastructure and events that support tourism in every region. Take Yorkshire and the Humber. Last month, I announced a £1 million post-flood ‘staycation’ campaign to encourage British families to spend their Easter holidays in the county and other flood-hit areas of the North of England.

And there are plenty of other projects being funded to give tourists even more reasons to visit. For example almost £500,000 will be spent ensuring tourism isn’t just limited to the summer by promoting the area around Spurn Point in East Riding as a destination for nature tourism. The project includes the restoration of the iconic ‘Matthew’s Lighthouse’ as well as the creation of a visitor centre, and the development of good, sustainable transport links to replace those lost in the December 2013 storm surge.

There will also be £452,782 spent enhancing the facilities and visitor experience at the Bempton Cliffs in North Yorkshire. This will make it a year-round attraction to further promote wildlife conservation.

London is one of the most visited cities in the world. That’s fantastic. But our mission is to make people – at home and abroad – look beyond the capital. To look to our beaches and country houses; our theatres and galleries; our festivals and sporting events; to look at the wonders of Yorkshire and the Humber. It’s good for them; it’s good for us, and it’s another step towards a greater Britain.