John Penrose MP, the Minister for Tourism, visited ABTA’s office on 24 March to hear the concerns of the industry firsthand at a specially convened meeting of senior industry representatives.
The Minister responded to questions ranging from taxation and consumer protection to the balance of domestic and outbound tourism and Government’s infrastructure investment plans.
Mr Penrose underlined the Government’s commitment to travel and tourism and the Minister acknowledged Air Passenger Duty and ATOL as major issues for the sector and committed to putting forward the views of industry to relevant government departments including the Treasury, but said that the industry must have a strong, legitimate, fact-based case for him to take forward. He noted that his Tourism Policy, released two weeks ago, was light on APD but noted that the Budget announcement offers the industry a chance to enter a dialogue with Government about aviation taxation.
When asked about including scheduled airlines and click-throughs in ATOL reform, Mr Penrose expressed his support for a simplified system that put the needs of the customer first so that customers could make informed choices.
He has asked that ABTA remains in regular dialogue with him, and engage in the deregulation debate – as the Coalition Government wants to cut red tape to help the industry grow.
Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive said: “We were delighted to host the Tourism Minister at ABTA, and get the opportunity to put Members’ questions to him. John Penrose has today demonstrated a clear understanding of the issues the industry faces and he confirmed that he is committed to supporting all parts of our industry from the domestic to outbound. We are very keen to continue regular dialogue with him to ensure the industry’s voice is effectively represented in government decision making.”
John Penrose MP said: “I want to make sure the views and concerns of all parts of the tourism industry are heard across Whitehall so that the sector can continue to thrive. Through its members, ABTA has a pivotal role to play in keeping me up to date on all the key issues so that we can all work together to drive economic growth and create more jobs.”