Comment: Time for the trade to target next government

Travel Weekly’s Lucy Huxley urges the industry to demonstrate its value as the general election nears

Airlines UK boss Tim Alderslade told a recent conference that messages about travel’s worth to the economy were falling on deaf ears in Westminster and Whitehall.

Yet the numbers outlined in the manifesto launched this week by Abta are still worth reminding ourselves of: £150 billion generated each year across domestic, outbound and inbound travel, with more than three million jobs supported.

As Tim noted, the sticking point when speaking to those in, or aspiring to be in, power is the contribution of the outbound sector, which is still often seen to be taking money out of the country, rather than bringing it in.

But now is the time to be driving those messages home and tackling misconceptions, as prospective parliamentary candidates angle for the support not just of voters, but the major employers in their constituencies.

Abta has taken some criticism over its representation of the industry in recent years, but its brand recognition remains high and it is clearly putting in a lot of groundwork to provide a platform for travel to state its case.

I wrote recently in this column about the frustration felt at Westminster’s ongoing lack of appreciation for the industry, but that shouldn’t mean we should simply shrug and throw in the towel.

Nobody is labouring under any misapprehension that our sector will be a priority for the next administration. However, with plenty of fresh faces looking to make their mark when a general election date is announced, this is as good a time as any to use the resources created by Abta
and make our case.

Comment originally from Travel Weekly, April 18 edition

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