The stark warning issued to the UK government by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) this week was as predictable as it was depressing.
Once again, the WTTC highlighted the growing value of the tourism industry to the UK economy, predicting the sector’s contribution to GDP this year would rise by four percentage points to almost 11%, and account for 13% of all employment.
But it also warned that Britain could lose its position as the world’s fifth-largest travel and tourism economy without government action on inbound visas, Air Passenger Duty and airport capacity.
And a severe skills shortage was predicted by 2024 without policies in place to recruit and manage talent.
The warnings are nothing new, of course – the industry has been lobbying on these and similar points for many years. But that doesn’t mean they should become white noise in the background, while we all get on with our day jobs.
With the general election on the horizon, we have a rare opportunity to get the ear of those vying to be our appointed representatives.
It is an opportunity that shouldn’t be passed up. It is on occasions such as this that Abta really demonstrates its value and I would urge you all to visit the association’s ‘general election hub’ at abta.com to arm yourself with the facts to target candidates in your area, and to use the #ValueTourism tag on social media.
As a recent Travel Weekly Business Breakfast panel discussion on the election emphasised, we have the chance to challenge MPs and hopeful candidates alike to recognise travel’s contribution to the economy.
With just six weeks to go, it is time to up the ante.
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