Comment: The industry’s voice still isn’t heard by government

Outbound travel still struggles to appear on Whitehall or Westminster’s radar despite ongoing lobbying efforts, says Travel Weekly’s Lucy Huxley

One of the most common refrains from the travel industry during the dark days of the pandemic was the lack of government understanding of, and support for, the sector.

Whether it was a lack of nuance in business support or poor communication – who can forget the ego-driven ‘Shapps O’Clock’ traffic light announcements on Twitter – dismay and frustration was palpable throughout. There were some exceptions, of course, with the cruise sector managing to get cut-through and engagement to enable its return to service.

But otherwise, there was a perennial feeling that outbound travel in particular just wasn’t on Whitehall or Westminster’s radar. Last week, we reported that those frustrations continue, with the aviation sector given no warning of changes to APD announced in the Budget.

And in this week’s edition, we write about the progress of the cross-government meetings set up in the period by former tourism minister Nigel Huddleston to coordinate policy. Spoiler alert: there wasn’t any.

Airlines UK chief executive Tim Alderslade last week repeated the common criticism that the industry “has too many voices and too many asks”, but travel isn’t the only sector with multiple facets or needs.

Ultimately, the issue lies with the assumption that travel is a drain on the economy rather than a contributor, and sadly it doesn’t look like those perceptions are going to change any time soon.

There have been many positives since the world reopened and it seems travel remains a high priority for many consumers. It’s a shame the same can’t be said for those in the corridors of power.

More: Advantage chief welcomes government pledge to create 20,000 more apprenticeships

Comment: The government is committed to supporting our domestic travel industry

Share article

View Comments

Jacobs Media is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.