Off Broadway Travel keeps up Grants Shapps visit pressure

Off Broadway Travel has kept up the pressure on Grant Shapps to visit its shop by reserving him a seat and promising coffee.

The travel agency yesterday invited the transport secretary to come and see ‘what a travel agent is’ in response to his comments during Friday’s green list announcement suggesting agents were a thing of the past.

In its latest tweet, the independent business placed a cardboard box with a note saying ‘reserved for Grant Shapps’ on the shop’s sofa.

Owners joked about how “the parking is so bad” in Welwyn, which falls in Shapps’ parliamentary constituency, as it promised it has “reserves as space [sic]” for the minister, adding “the coffee is on”.

Shapps referred to travel companies as “what people would have called travel agents in the past”.

He was immediately criticised by the trade, particularly high-street travel agents, who questioned his understanding of the travel industry and how it works. Abta has since written to the DfT for clarification.

In its initial tweet on Monday, the agency said: “We invite you to visit us and we will explain what a travel agent is and how important our agency is to our local community – your voters!”

Natalie Bennett, partner at the agency, said: “We are very saddened that he thinks travel agents don’t exist or that there is no place for them, especially as a travel agency in his constituency.

“There is definitely a lack of understanding of how the industry works [in government].”

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