UK Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell urged the tourism industry to meet the needs of 21st century, web-based consumers by getting behind EnglandNet - a new £10 million online one-stop-shop for holidaymakers in England.

From May, EnglandNet will, for the first time, offer holidaymakers all the information they need to know about a destination in England at the click of a mouse. It rationalises the often bewildering array of websites travellers have to navigate to find accommodation and travel information.

Speaking at the first National Tourism conference in London, the Culture Secretary stressed to industry leaders the need to recognise the importance of the internet travel industry - 60 per cent of travellers now book online.

Tessa Jowell said:

"The internet enables us all to be travel agents. Consumers increasingly demand a tailor-made holiday and they want to know they're going to get a quality product before they've left the comfort of home.

"EnglandNet will deliver just that. It will provide a much needed shop window for what the UK has to offer. It will be equally accessible whether the traveller lives in Charlton or China."

EnglandNet will:

- Increase choice: Giving travellers an online menu to choose from before they've even left home;

- Drive up standards: People will know whether they are booking a quality product; and

- Boost business: Helping towards the goal of making tourism a £100bn a year industry by 2010.

Tom Wright, Chief Executive of VisitBritain, said:

"The EnglandNet project will ensure England's online presence remains ahead of rival destinations and provide thousands of our tourism businesses with a strong competitive advantage in the huge global travel market.

"Every part of the industry - from accommodation providers, tour operators and travel agents, to attractions, events, tourist boards and individual destinations - will benefit from EnglandNet as it will better connect millions more potential visitors to a greater variety of England's tourism products and services."

Tessa Jowell was speaking at the first National Tourism conference at the QE2 Centre in London. The conference was organised by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in partnership with Visit Britain and the Tourism Alliance. This is the first conference of national scope to include the tourism, hospitality and attractions sectors.

EnglandNet will provide a virtual high street for tourism by allowing a customer the see all the attractions, accommodation and travel information for a specific area and will provide easy links to local websites where they will be able to book their holiday.

The Government has invested £10 million in EnglandNet (£2 million was recently added following the spending review).