The development of a new UK Outbound Travel Forum, led by Advantage Travel Partnership, has moved into the next phase, according to Advantage CEO Julia Lo Bue-Said.
A meeting to discuss how the industry can move forward on this initiative will take place in Westminster in early March.
Lo Bue-Said, who put out a rally call to industry back in December, said: “Our lack of profile specifically as an outbound sector with UK Government over the last two years of the pandemic has showed us that we need to work considerably harder in making our sector known and understood with MPs and Government officials, in order to influence decision making in the future.
“As an industry we have struggled at getting our collective voice heard during the pandemic and convey the significant contribution outbound travel contributes as an economic and social sector in its own right and how the UK outbound sector underpins airlines, airports and getting travellers on planes, through airports and across borders.
“I believe our need in this area is greater now than ever before to ensure we never find ourselves in a position of weakness. The pandemic is far from over for our sector and continues to be one of the first to feel the impact of border closures. Travel businesses remain fragile, in debt and under significant pressure as restrictions across the world in some form continue.
“Improving the understanding of the sector and raising the industry’s profile across UK Government is crucial, both to the issues we are facing today and going forward.”
As part of its progress in looking at the feasibility of establishing an Outbound Travel Forum Alexis Coles Barrasso has been recruited as a consultant to support Advantage in scoping out its Government-led strategy going forward. She was formerly Director of PR & Communications at The Travel Network Group and before that Group Director, PR & Communications Thomas Cook Group.
Lo Bue-Said: “Alexis has extensive knowledge of the travel industry and has experience of working in government relations from her time at Thomas Cook. She will be a huge help in driving this agenda forward for us.”
She said a significant number of organisations have now added their names as interested parties following discussions with Advantage members, trade associations, public affairs experts and other stakeholders.
“There is a considerable appetite for this activity to happen and we would welcome support and input from all areas of the industry. We are now in the process of setting up a meeting at Westminster with a select group of interested parties to establish and agree the next steps,” she added.
Those interested in supporting and assisting with funding should contact julia@UKoutboundtravel.com.