John Penrose has stepped down as tourism and heritage minister at the department for culture, media and sport following a major UK cabinet reshuffle.
In a statement to his constituency, Penrose said: “I am very proud of the work I did as part of the DCMS team, boosting the tourism industry, cutting red tape and helping with a highly successful Olympic Games.”
The move follows the appointment of Maria Miller as minister for culture, media and sport.
She replaces Jeremy Hunt in the role, as he takes up the position of health secretary.
Commenting on the news, Martin Couchman, deputy chief executive, British Hospitality Association revealed: “We are extremely disappointed that John Penrose has stepped down - he was a great supporter of the tourism industry.
“We would be extremely concerned if this indicated any downgrading of tourism in the list of priorities at the department.”
With no successor announced in the post, ABTA echoed these concerns.
“News that the tourism minister, John Penrose, has stood down as part of a down-sizing of DCMS is of concern as we understand there are no plans to replace him.
“The travel industry called for a minister in order to oversee an effective tourism strategy and we have been encouraged to see progress in this area,” said Luke Pollard, head of public affairs at ABTA.
“We are awaiting confirmation from government as to where the tourism portfolio will now sit.
“The government has said that tourism is a key driver of economic growth and it is vital that we have clear leadership in place at a time when the tourism legacy from the Olympics needs to be secured and the contribution from outbound, inbound and domestic tourism still needs to be properly understood.”
Penrose was appointed minister for tourism and heritage in 2010.