Industry lobbying group the Tourism Alliance launched a series of policy demands of the next Government at Westminster yesterday as the culture secretary acknowledged: “Tourism is powering the recovery.”
The Alliance, backed by members including Abta, the British Hospitality Association, the Airport Operators Association and airline groups, launched a briefing for election candidates on the value of tourism and ways to increase it.
Speaking at the launch, culture secretary Sajid Javid said: “Your industry is powering the recovery. It is part of our long-term economic plan, and that is not just rhetoric.
“Through the last five years the government has worked with the industry to invest.
“We have shaken up the visa processes and we’ve overhauled Air Passenger Duty so that hard-working families can spend more on their holidays and give less to the taxman.”
Referring to the record number of overseas visitors to Britain and record level of spending last year, Javid said: “It’s all starting to pay off.”
But he insisted: “We are not complacent. We launched the Tourism Industry Council with you to take the action that is needed.”
Javid thanked tourism minister Helen Grant for her work and said: “The tourism industry does not always make the headlines or get the praise it deserves. But it’s a vital part of the British economy.”
British Hospitality Association chief executive Ufi Ibrahim, who chairs the Tourism Alliance, said: “There has been much to applaud in our collaboration with Government.”
She described the Tourism Industry Council as “a game changer” and commended Helen Grant for her “decisive role” in setting it up.
But Ibrahim said: “We need the incoming government to continue to change the game to ensure we are competitive. There is so much more to be done. We have great expectations of the next Government.”
The Tourism Alliance briefing lists 19 ways the next Government could boost travel and tourism, including reducing Air Passenger Duty, increasing airport capacity, improving the visa process and cutting VAT on tourism services.