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Agents back calls for industry to speak with ‘one voice’

Travel agents have backed Westoe Travel owner Graeme Brett’s calls for a united approach by the travel industry to lobby government.

Brett (pictured) said there was ‘frustration among rank and file’ agents at the way in which different trade bodies and consortia were issuing their own statements and making conflicting demands to government.

He has called for organisations to put aside their differences and work together to lobby for the sector’s needs.

This week a new alliance, Save Our Summer, has launched to lobby government for overseas travel to restart from May 1 while the existing Save Future Travel Coalition continues to call for a future roadmap for travel and sector specific funding.

Sarah Watson, director of Travel Impressions of Tring, said all parts of the industry needed to be included in the lobbying, from agents to travel insurance companies.

“We need them all on board and everybody has to be represented with one similar message for the government to listen,” she said.

Referencing the different lobbying campaigns, she added: “The problem is there are too many ‘bits’ [of the industry giving out messages].”

Kelly Cheesman, director, Beverley Travel, also backed Brett’s views. She said: “It seems like there are different groups working separately.”

She added that the government did not understand the travel industry or how travel agents’ businesses operated. “We have not got one voice [as an industry]. We need a government minister for tourism,” she said.

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