Travel industry leaders react to Labour general election landslide

ByTravelling For Business

July 5, 2024
The UK business travel associations and industry groups have reacted to the  news of newly elected Labour government, following the party’s landslide victory in the general election.

The UK business travel associations and industry groups have reacted to the  news of newly elected Labour government, following the party’s landslide victory in the general election.

Scott Davies, CEO of the Institute of Travel Management (ITM), said in a statement: “We hope that responsible business travel will be seen and supported by the new government as an essential catalyst of economic prosperity, as well as a direct and indirect employer of hundreds of thousands of UK citizens.”

The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) has committed to pressing the new Labour government on the significance of the outbound travel sector after the party’s decisive general election win.

Mark Tanzer, Abta’s chief executive, underscored the primary issues to be presented to the incoming administration at Downing Street. “We look forward to collaborating with the new government on key priorities for the travel industry and our members,” Tanzer stated.

“As the voice of the travel industry, Abta is well-positioned to engage with the new government, MPs, and officials. We’ve already made substantial efforts with parliamentary candidates across the political spectrum, enabling us to swiftly address the issues that matter to our members and the wider industry.”

In the coming days, Abta will reach out to newly appointed ministers to emphasise the substantial contribution of the outbound travel industry to the UK economy, which generates £49 billion annually and supports 843,000 jobs. The association will also raise their policy priorities within ministers’ specific portfolios.

Tanzer added, “We will stress the urgent need for action to help the industry achieve its sustainability goals, particularly in aviation. There is a plan for aviation to reach net zero, but it requires government support and prompt action. It is crucial that policy changes protect the significant benefits travel and tourism bring both domestically and globally.”

ABTA will also remind the new government of the ongoing challenges faced by travel businesses, including the squeeze on consumer spending and the repayment of Covid loans. Opportunities for sector support, such as a youth mobility deal with the EU or business rates reform to incentivise high street trading, will also be highlighted.

“In the early months of this new Parliament and government, ABTA will actively engage MPs and ministers on a broad range of policies outlined in our manifesto for travel and tourism,” Tanzer pledged. “We will also encourage our members to participate in these efforts. Stay tuned for more on activities the industry can support in the coming weeks.”

Julia Lo Bue-Said, chief executive of the Advantage Travel Partnership, echoed these sentiments on behalf of the UK Outbound Travel Group. “The election results provide an opportunity for the new government to better recognise the benefits and impact of the outbound travel sector. We look forward to building on our prior meetings with the new Labour team.”

The UK Outbound Group, led by Advantage, Aito, and Abtot, has invited travel trade leaders to an industry-wide meeting in London on September 16 to discuss the sector’s political engagement strategy post-election.

Gary Lewis, chief executive of The Travel Network Group, expressed his reaction to the election outcome. “We acknowledge the formation of the new government and extend our congratulations. The travel industry is vital to the UK’s economy, and we look forward to collaborating through the Future Travel Coalition with the new administration to support its growth and sustainability.”

Lewis highlighted the need for a dedicated minister of tourism and more stringent airport regulations to enhance resilience and prevent unnecessary disruptions. He also emphasised the importance of addressing the cost-of-living crisis to ensure travel remains accessible and competitive.

Jacqueline Dobson, president of the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association, stated, “We look forward to working with the new MPs to ensure the travel and tourism sector in Scotland receives the recognition and support it deserves.”

Clive Wratten, chief executive of the British Travel Association, added, “Travel and tourism are crucial to our nation’s prosperity and well-being. We need a collaborative approach from both the Scottish and UK governments to establish a sustainable future. Our manifesto for travel outlines key issues and opportunities, and we urge new MPs to engage with us and our members to address them.”

Wratten concluded, “As the new government settles in, we are ready to work with all departments to protect and grow business travel as a vital component of our economic and professional relationships worldwide.”