ABTA boss calls for political change
Mark Tanzer has said that the travel industry is a “political orphan” during his opening remarks at ABTA’s Travel Matters conference.
The chief executive of ABTA also revealed that the association is investigating legal options to challenge the government.
Tanzer added: “Outbound travel is by its nature, complex, and involves our interacting with many Government Departments – Transport, Treasury, Business, Home Office, FCDO, DCMS. We accept this, and are happy to put the resources into widespread engagement. But that does not mean we are content to be a political orphan. Clear accountability for the welfare of the outbound travel sector needs to be given to a designated Minister. Our economic contribution is weighty – (more money is spent in the UK by British citizens prior to travelling abroad than is spent by international visitors!)– and the job creation (or destruction) potential is huge.”
The ABTA boss was speaking at the annual Travel Matters conference, watched by more than 600 industry professionals. He also revealed that the aviation minister, Robert Courts, had pulled out of speaking at the event.
“We come together at the darkest hour in recent travel history. You don’t need me to tell you of the carnage wrought by the pandemic, and the devastating impact it continues to have on travel businesses and travel lives. At ABTA we see this up front and close with long-established Members failing or choosing to shut up shop, and heart-breaking stories of personal loss. They say the darkest hour is right before the dawn. This dawn has been a long time coming, and we desperately need to see day breaking soon.”