Advantage boss says lobbying groups ‘can co-exist’

An outbound industry think-tank will continue to push forward with plans to lobby government despite a similar vow by the renamed Future Travel Coalition.

Advantage Travel Partnership said its think-tank aimed to unite the “whole industry” as a single voice to lobby government, taking a holistic approach and using funding from stakeholders.

Partners in the Future Travel Coalition, which includes Advantage, have vowed to continue working together despite the fact there are no longer any UK travel restrictions.

The 16-strong group, set up in 2020 as the Save Future Travel Coalition, includes Abta and a raft of tour operator and travel agent associations and covers inbound as well as outbound tourism. It does not include aviation-specific associations or airlines.

Advantage chief executive Julia Lo Bue-Said insisted the groups were different in their make-up and approach and could exist side by side.

She said: “They do not duplicate each other. We are taking a holistic approach in terms of the industry, making sure we have all parts of the sector involved. We are trying to take it to a different level. We are trying to get funding for public affairs and grow our muscle power and make sure the entire industry is represented.”

She added that Advantage would carry on as a member of the Future Travel Coalition, saying: “It has been great and really helpful and continues to be important.

“There are lots of organisations lobbying. It’s about raising the bar. There’s no competition. It’s about enhancing the representation of the industry.”

Participants in the Future Travel Coalition said its name change reflected the fact the industry was now in a recovery phase from the pandemic and its focus was a longer‑term commitment to keep working together to promote the interests of the travel industry.

The group, which meets every month, will continue to work together on shared lobbying goals and challenges, both relating to the pandemic and other policy priorities, to ensure a coordinated industry voice and message to government.

Recent joint activity has included an industry survey to monitor booking trends and challenges in the UK travel industry, with evidence to be shared with officials and ministers.

Abta public affairs director Luke Petherbridge said: “The coalition has been an invaluable forum throughout the pandemic to enable the industry to share insights and coordinate our lobbying messaging and asks.

“Continuing our work together into the future will ensure we continue to exchange intelligence, coordinate messaging and add our combined weight to our arguments and lobbying requests.”

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