07 May

ABTA's Head of Public Affairs comments on the General Election

The party campaigns have now drawn to a close, and today, the country heads to the polls; these have been a long six weeks.

Over the course of the campaign, the industry has got behind the #ValueTourism campaign to engage with well over 500 candidates, many of whom will shortly be entering – or re-entering – the House of Commons; they will now be doing so with a knowledge of the importance of tourism fresh on their minds. The challenge for the industry will be to build on the groundwork that the campaign has laid over the course of the campaign to ensure that the effects of the #ValueTourism campaign are felt far beyond 7 May.

Opinion polls have remained incredibly close. This suggests that we will once again be heading for a hung Parliament. Plans are in place for ABTA to hit the ground running to engage with new and returning MPs from across the political spectrum.

The next Government’s travel and tourism in-tray will be full, and so it is vital that we continue to beat the drum loudly for our industry. In addition to strategic decisions around the governance of the UK, the UK’s place in Europe, and on infrastructure investment, it is also clear that whoever wins the election will face tough spending and tax raising decisions. With all parties using the campaign to rule out rises in many of the obvious tax levers, such as VAT and income tax, it is going to be increasingly important that travel and tourism fight our corner to ensure we do not bear an increasing tax burden through stealth taxes, such as fuel duty and APD.

Today signals the end of the election, but the business of influencing the next Parliament is only just beginning.

We will be engaging with Members over the coming weeks as the business of forming the next Government unfolds, but for more information and further details, please visit www.abta.com/electionhub.

Stephen has also commented in the 7 May 2015 edition of Travel Weekly. You can read his full comment here.