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“Moorea is covered in an abundance of fresh fruits and flowers, spectacular mountain peaks and palm-fringed beaches” PAUL GAUGUIN CRUISES’ ELAINE GILLARD, P41

Abta sets out its stall to sway future government

Patrick Whyte

A CUT in Air Passenger Duty, a rise in airport capacity and a “cohesive approach” to tourism – these

are just three of the manifesto pledges made by Abta ahead of next year’s election. The travel association has outlined

its position on several issues in the hope that it can persuade politicians to take on board some of its points. “A manifesto for jobs and growth

in tourism” was launched on Wednesday at a reception in the House of Commons and builds on many of Abta’s previous positions with five key messages (see box). Its first priority – to expand

airport capacity – comes ahead of the Sir Howard Davies-led Airports Commission, which is due to deliver its final report next summer. Abta has demanded whichever party is in charge to make a commitment to increase capacity, a point which all have so far been reluctant to do.

Alongside extra capacity, Abta

wants a pledge to invest in rail and maritime infrastructure, as well as surface access to transport hubs. Its third priority is to put pressure

on government to reform APD. Lobbying by A Fair Tax on Flying (of which Abta was a founding member) paid off this year when the Chancellor changed the banding system, leading to a cut in duty on certain long-haul flights from April 2015.

i Key aims

■Increased airport capacity in the next parliament ■Investment in infrastructure to improve surface access and the passenger experience ■Reform and reduction of Air Passenger Duty ■A cohesive approach to tourism policymaking ■Completion of consumer protection reforms in a balanced and comprehensive way

But Abta believes more must be done

and is calling for the tax to be brought in line with other countries. It also wants the Tourism Council, comprising representatives from government and the tourism sector, to take into account inbound, outbound and domestic tourism and the “interdependence of all three sectors”. Finally, Abta wants a “clear

and effective implementation of the revised EU Package Travel Directive” and is arguing for a review of rules on the sale of certain insurance products by travel professionals. Mark Tanzer, Abta chief executive,

said: “We can point to some real progress in convincing this government to move on reforms to both APD and consumer protection and also in influencing and moving forward the airport capacity debate. “But we and the government must

do more. To compete in this fast- paced global marketplace, it is crucial that the momentum that the industry has been steadily building behind necessary reforms and policies picks up steam beyond 2015.”

Comment Stephen D’Alfonso, Abta head of public affairs

“I’ve had the privilege of participating in the TTG30 under 30 programme over the past 12 months, and I’ve been amazed by the sheer diversity and depth of talent in the industry. So it came as no surprise to me that new research commissioned by Abta shows just this – that those under 30 are among the industry’s brightest stars. The study – carried out by

the Centre for Economics and Business Research – paints a story of a diverse, flexible, innovative and youthful workforce. For instance, more than a third of employees are younger than 30, flexible hours are commonly offered and there are twice the number of part-time opportunities as there are in other sectors. This makes working in travel and tourism a great choice for our next generation of graduates and school and college leavers, as well as for working parents and others who need added flexibility. Tackling youth unemployment,

promoting innovation, boosting apprenticeships and providing more flexible working opportunities are all key areas of focus for the government. Moreover, they will continue to be top priorities for whoever is in Number 10 after next May’s general election. That is why

we launched our manifesto in Parliament, and why

LEADING LIGHTS: Harriet Green, Carolyn McCall and Julia Lo Bue-Said were among the travel industry leaders included in the Association of Women Travel Executives’ “60 for 60” list. Finalists were recognised for their contribution to the industry over the past 60 years with awards made in various sectors. The winners were announced at the association’s 60th anniversary event at The Marriott Grosvenor Square in London.

Abta will be taking the industry’s case to MPs and parliamentary candidates across the country on the road to 2015.”

17.07.2014 05

Steve Dunlop

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