A travel retailer in transport secretary Grant Shapps’ own constituency has invited him to visit its shop after his comments suggested he did not know travel agents still existed.
In a Downing Street briefing announcing the government’s travel green list on Friday, 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.
Off Broadway Travel, an independent travel agency in Welwyn Garden City, tweeted an invite to Shapps to visit his local travel agency. Shapps is MP for the Welwyn Hatfield constituency.
In the tweet, 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].”