Travel industry backs campaign for UK tourism minister


Campaign demanding that the next UK government creates a post for a dedicated tourism minister has won high level backing from within the industry.

Since the Yes Minister campaign was launched in the March 5 issue of Travel Weekly, bosses of some of the trade’s biggest firms have written to us in support of it.

A Downing Street petition is online and we urge everyone who wants travel to be given greater focus in government to sign it before the next general election.

Tui Travel UK managing director Dermot Blastland said: “The lack of understanding – and subsequent lack of support for our industry – means that inappropriate policies continue to be forced upon us. We cannot and should not sit back and allow that to continue.

“It is for these reasons that we therefore welcome and wholeheartedly support Travel Weekly’s campaign. We will be encouraging our colleagues across Tui UK & Ireland to sign your petition. We believe the whole industry should pull together to force a change for the future.”

The Co-operative Travel managing director Mike Greenacre said: “The appointment of a senior minister – with primary focus on the concerns and the long-term interests of the travel and tourism sector – would, I believe, be essential to ensuring that whether it is compliance, tax, regulation or employment, supporting our industry can only be beneficial to government in the long term.

“We will be encouraging the whole of our team to support the petition. This initiative will be part of a number of actions that the wider industry is involved with, and I particularly refer here to the excellent work being undertaken by Abta to be at the forefront of lobbying in the years ahead.”

Travel Counsellors chairman David Speakman supported the call for a minister, but warned the industry that any greater focus on its activities would mean it will have to address some of the “sharp practices” that currently leave customers at risk.

“Of course, the travel industry should have its own representative within the government, but the industry should be very careful of what it wishes for,” he said.

On Wednesday, Abta will launch its first manifesto in the House of Lords. One of the five key demands is for a dedicated tourism minister.