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The government met a key industry demand last week when it announced a group of ministers, headed by culture secretary John Whittingdale, would coordinate tourism policy across Whitehall.
Prime Minister David Cameron unveiled the group, which will include ministers from the departments of business, culture and the environment, as well as the Home Office and Foreign Office, days after industry leaders held a private lunch with politicians.
The meeting, hosted by Abta, the Association of Airport Operators (AOA), UKinbound and the Tourism Alliance, focused on the economic contribution of tourism and aviation, and the links between them.
Abta chief Mark Tanzer, AOA head Darren Caplin, UKinbound chief executive Deirdre Wells and Thomas Cook UK managing director Salman Syed stressed the need for integrated policy to aviation minister Robert Goodwill, tourism minister Tracey Crouch and an all-party group of MPs.
Crouch said: “This government is committed to supporting UK tourism. I look forward to working closely with the sector.”
Graham Brady, chair of the 1922 Committee of backbench Conservative MPs, said: “There are policy obstacles to overcome – ensuring we have the airport capacity, as well as reducing skyhigh levels of Air Passenger Duty.”
MP for Mid-Worcestershire Nigel Huddlestone, former Google head of travel, added: “The meeting was really productive. We discussed everything from APD and the airport experience to the impact of the living wage.”
UKinbound’s Wells said: “It was interesting how many Home Office issues came up. It was good for them to see our united front.”
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