Some years ago Bradford was a rising star in the world of tourism. The city set out its stall with confidence and style and managed to attract a great deal of attention in Britain and overseas through the bold way it sold the district's attractions. Starting from a low base, Bradford became one of the country's surprise tourism success stories.

Lately, though, much of that early momentum seems to have been lost. Bradford has become more inward looking. The spotlight has been turned away from ways of attracting tourists and on to other matters of importance to the district, such as the Broadway shopping development, the schools reorganisation, divisions within the community, the troubled Odsal scheme, and excessive house-building on greenfield sites.

There are still plenty of tourists coming here, to visit Haworth and Ilkley and the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television and, increasingly, to head for the newly-designated World Heritage Site of Saltaire. The sector had a turnover of £298 million in 1999 and employed 7,000 people.

But that was pre-riots and before foot-and-mouth. There is an obvious need now for Bradford to revive the pro-active approach in a determined effort to increase the number of visitors. We need to start reaching out again, and pulling people in.

That is the clear message from the new internal report which recommends the Council spends nearly £400,000 over the next two years to boost Bradford's tourism role as part of the Capital of Culture bid. It might sound a lot of money, but it could prove to be a important investment in the district's economic future.