The UK government is among the worst in the world in failing to understand the importance of travel, according to the head of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).
But WTTC president and chief executive David Scowsill said some of the the blame lies with the UK industry for not addressing Westminster with a single voice.
Scowsill said the governments of other leading economies made the same mistake. He told Travel Weekly: “It’s not just the governments of the US and the UK that don’t understand travel and tourism. The governments of France, Germany and Italy don’t understand either.”
Addressing the WTTC summit in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Scowsill said: “Politicians don’t take the travel industry seriously, but they do take it for granted. In the UK, the government does not really ‘get’ the industry and puts up air passenger duty (APD) whenever it can.”
However, Scowsill told Travel Weekly: “The industry in the UK is not good at coordinating itself to go and speak to the government with one voice. It is fragmented.”
He told the summit: “Travel and tourism receives second class treatment and that needs to change. The industry contributes 9% of global GDP – it’s bigger than the auto industry at 8% and just behind banking on 11%. Does your government understand that?
“Many governments fail to understand – they impose taxes and visa restrictions. We must be heard as one voice, talk to governments about the impact of travel and tourism with one voice, and educate governments around the world.”
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