The travel industry has held crisis talks with training body People 1st, the Sector Skills Council for hospitality and travel, accusing it of ignoring the sector.


A delegation with representatives from ABTA, the Institute of Travel and Tourism and Triton, met with officials from the Sector Skills Council on Wednesday to demand greater focus and resources for travel.


People 1st has played down the significance of the meeting, but travel bosses claim the SSC is favouring the hospitality sector. ITT chairman Stephen Freudmann, who led the delegation, said the industry could go to Government to call for a travel-specific training body.


“We are the poor relations in People 1st,” he said. “People 1st is invisible as far as the travel industry is concerned. It can no longer sit in its ivory tower ignoring the sector.”


One of the industry’s major concerns is the lack of travel knowledge or experience within People 1st – the 30-strong Council of Members advisory board has only two travel representatives, former ABTA president Martin Wellings and Hoseasons chief executive Richard Carrick.


Wellings said he “frequently raises” the lack of travel knowledge within People 1st and plans to put forward “concrete proposals to have travel people on the payroll”.


Carrick urged the travel sector to be “forceful and push its way into People 1st”.


“Travel is not where People 1st puts its effort and enthusiasm,” he said. “We have to make more noise.”


People 1st chief executive Brian Wisdom said travel gets a disproportionate amount of funding given its size and despite a lack of involvement from the travel industry: “Travel is a small part of our footprint,” he said.