Meeting on outbound think-tank concludes ‘greater debate’ needed

A second meeting to discuss a UK outbound travel think-tank has concluded there needs to be ‘greater thought and debate’ into how the sector can raise its profile within government.

An invitation was sent to companies across the industry to attend the meeting by Advantage Travel Partnership, which has so far spearheaded the concept of a UK outbound travel think-tank to lobby government.

Advantage said the three-hour meeting had a strong turnout with ‘representation from across the industry’ and generated much discussion on the current profile of the sector.

All consortia and trade associations were invited but no specific details of attendees have been revealed.

A debate, under Chatham House Rule, concluded there remained an appetite to look at an improved, collective approach to get the outbound industry recognised as one sector.

In a statement, Advantage said it would be working with the group over the next few months to establish the next steps and ‘consider how we ensure the sector is in the best place to build its political engagement over and above what is existing across the industry today’.

This will include drawing up a plan to take the group forward.

Advantage chief executive Julia Lo Bue-Said, who has said previously the group aimed to unite the industry as a single voice to lobby government using funding from stakeholders, said after the meeting: “As this initiative gains momentum it was great to have an opportunity to speak to a wide range of industry leaders and get their views on how they feel the industry is currently represented as far as government is concerned.

“The feedback would suggest they feel that more can and should be done to raise the industry’s profile amongst MPs, civil servants and government leaders, but the vehicle for how we do this best needs some greater thought and debate, which we are now working on.”

Funding was not discussed at the meeting, which follows an initial, smaller meeting in March. Lo Bue-Said first raised the idea of a UK outbound think-tank in December 2021.

The meeting came as the industry remembered the Travel Day of Action held a year ago as a ‘powerful day of unity’ for the outbound and inbound sector.

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