The UK travel industry has reacted sharply to the cabinet reshuffle announced by the British prime minister, as the tourism minister, John Penrose, has stepped down and Prime Minister, David Cameron, is yet to name a replacement.
Speaking on behalf of the travel industry, Luke Pollard, the head of public affairs at the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), a UK-based travel agents association, said, ‘It is all change for ministers with travel and tourism portfolios. It is too early to read too much into a change of personnel at the top so we will wait to see what moving Justine Greening and Theresa Villiers from the DfT will mean in terms of a new approach to aviation from Government.
It is essential that the Government urgently addresses key issues in aviation, particularly airport capacity and taxation. There has been much debate that the long-awaited consultation on capacity is being moved forward and this could well be Patrick Mcloughlin’s first big announcement as Transport Secretary.
In addition, we look forward to discussing how domestic, inbound and outbound tourism can help economic recovery with Maria Miller MP, the new Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.
ABTA has a close working relationship with DfT and DCMS Ministers and we have already been in touch with those departments seeking early meetings with the new Ministers. We have a strong story to tell about how travel and tourism can provide more jobs and boost the economy but we are reliant on Government looking again at aviation capacity and plans to hike Air Passenger Duty in particular.
We will be using the opportunity this reshuffle offers to reinforce the view of ABTA Members in Westminster in relation to tax, infrastructure and consumer protection.’