Advantage Travel Partnership chief executive Julia Lo Bue-Said has secured a private meeting with secretary of state for transport, Grant Shapps.
The meeting was confirmed as she joined hundreds of other industry professionals for the Travel Day of Action at Westminster on Wednesday.
Shapps is Lo Bue-Said’s local MP in the parliamentary constituency for Welwyn Hatfield. She said she had been writing to him for months, asking for a meeting, but had ramped up communication to daily emails in the lead up to yesterday’s lobby.
Lo Bue-Said told Travel Weekly: “I’ve been writing to Grant Shapps for 18 months religiously, trying to secure a meeting with him. He always acknowledges my letters but nothing more. But with the Travel Day of Action looming, I emailed every single day for the last week and a half, inviting him to meet me on College Green, but was told he had a busy diary that day.
“Given the aviation minister Robert Courts didn’t turn up for the Abta Travel Matters conference earlier in the week I was really encouraged when a meeting was then confirmed for July 2,” she said.
Lo Bue-Said described the confirmation coming through during the Travel Day of Action as “significant”.
“I take some comfort that he is at least interested in discussing our situation,” she said. “I have continually made it very clear the state that the industry is in but this is now a great opportunity to get in front of Grant Shapps, face-to-face, to outline our two key demands.
“We need him to understand the pressure the industry is under and to look at the traffic light system so we can get international travel moving again and to put pressure on the Chancellor Rishi Sunak to provide us with sector specific support.”
Lo Bue-Said added: “There is a traffic light update and a policy review before we meet, so it will be interesting to see what comes out of those, but I this is a great and encouraging opportunity.”