New tourism minister Tracey Crouch insisted she regards the outbound industry as of equal importance to inbound in forging a vibrant tourism sector.
Speaking exclusively to Travel Weekly following her appointment as minister for tourism after May’s general election, the MP for Chatham and Aylesford said she wanted to seek advice from all sectors.
“Ultimately my job is to make sure the UK tourism industry is properly supported,” she said.
“One of the best things about the UK industry is it’s incredibly diverse, and with that comes challenges. Clearly, there are balancing acts to manage.
“There will be different parts of the industry that have different opinions on issues.”
Crouch said she was well-travelled and enjoyed foreign holidays just as much as hooidaying in Britain, however she said her aim was to make Britian a world-class tourist destination.
She said she saw the outbound industry as offering young people valuable skills and exprience in a sector that should be seen as proviing long-term job prospects.
A new cross-department ministerial tourism policy group, unveiled by the prime minister in July, was due to have its first meeting last week.
Crouch said this was an exciting development. “We are asking the tourism sector to be more coordinated, so it’s only fair we ourselves are more coordinated.”
Crouch revealed a review of the government’s industry partnership, the Tourism Council, is under way ahead of its next meeting.
The council, which has not met since the election, was launched last year and members include Abta, Tui Group, easyJet, Expedia, Google and Jac Travel.
Crouch said she sees the council playing a vital role adding: “We are looking at the council at the moment.
“It was clear there were concerns that the Tourism Council was working as effectively and as efficiently as it could.
“All parts of the industry are important sources of advice, but the council will look at issues in detail and provide valuable guidance which we can discuss in a more cross-party, joined-up way.”
The council was established by Crouch’s predecessor, Helen Grant, to help the travel sector share best practice and boost enterprise and skills.
A government spokeswoman said: “In line with the Prime Minister’s announcement of the five point plan for tourism over the summer, we are currently undertaking a review and reform of the Tourism Council to determine its scope and focus for the future, we will announce further details in due course.
“This will also look at how the industry’s expertise can best be harnessed to feed into the new Ministerial Group on Tourism, which is being chaired by John Whittingdale MP.”
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