Abta chairman Noel Josephides has accused the government of treating the industry as if it “knows nothing” in its handling of the Monarch failure.
Josephides told the closing session of Abta’s Travel Convention: “It’s imperative government and industry work together. We are not the enemy, we are the ally.
“But the government sometimes treats us as if we know nothing about the very industry in which we work.”
He described Monarch’s failure as “a sad day for all of us”, suggesting the airline had been “overwhelmed by the price-cutting frenzy generated by gross overcapacity in the market”.
Josephides hit out at the government, saying: “Abta was never asked whether it felt the industry could handle such a failure without outside intervention, or whether this could be done at a more reasonable cost than £250 per one-way seat.
“The failure of the government to communicate and listen has resulted in a backlash [from the industry] which could so easily have been prevented.”
He told the Convention: “On so many issues we could benefit from transparency in dialogue and trust.
“I hope the Monarch failure will be the catalyst to encourage a more trusting relationship.”
However, Josephides said: “2018 bookings are looking good in spite of the best efforts to derail them by regulators, terrorists and natural disasters.”
Referring to the Convention’s host destination, the Azores, Josephides added: “I first came to the Azores in 1989. I’m thrilled this year’s Convention was held here.
“It has not been easy for a small archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic to attract the attention of the industry or to host a convention of this size.
“But the island will face a greater challenge – how to cope with the growth of tourism that threatens the very thing visitors come to see. I am confident this most resilient of people will succeed.”
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