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Travel trade associations welcome measures to boost sector announced in Spring Statement

Travel trade associations UKinbound and the Guild of Travel Management Companies (GMTC) both gave a welcome to the Chancellor’s Spring Statement, 13 March, claiming it contained several policies that would have a positive effect on the UK’s tourism industry.  

UKinbound noted that in 2017 the UK tourism industry had attracted an estimated 37m visitors and generated over £22bn for the economy.

UKinbound’s chief executive officer, Deirdre Wells OBE (pictured), said: “I am encouraged by the Spring Statement which included several policies that directly impact on the UK’s tourism industry. These include improving England’s transport links, digital connectivity and consulting on the impact of Air Passenger Duty and VAT.”

“Affordable housing has also been highlighted by a number of our members as a reason their EU employees are starting to return home so we are encouraged that the government is ‘getting on with the job’ of building more affordable homes, which should help encourage skilled EU workers, that our industry heavily relies on, to stay in the UK post-Brexit,” she added.

“It is also encouraging that a review has been confirmed into the impact of APD and VAT on tourism in Northern Ireland. Along with our tourism partners, we will be calling on all those in the industry to submit evidence they have that demonstrates its negative impact,” Wells also noted.

Adrian Parkes, chief executive, GTMC commented: “In addition to the positive forecasts for growth announced by the Chancellor it was encouraging to see further positive steps forward on announcements made in the Autumn Budget.

“The increase in research and development funding with the first allocation for the development of 5G technology is welcome news for the business travel community – particularly those who travel by rail – and seek to improve productivity while on the move.

“Likewise, the announcement that cities will now be invited to bid for financing from the new Transforming Cities Fund announced last November is also positive. In order to build opportunities for growth beyond London and the South East businesses in regions across the UK need the infrastructure and routes to travel. It is also encouraging to see support for small businesses maintained with the allocation of a fund to engage apprentices.

“However, it is important for business owners, business travellers and the government to remember that opportunities for growth lie not only in the domestic market but also overseas. Any future investment plans, bids and decisions made around investment in business growth and regional transport networks must pay careful consideration to improving transport links not only on our road and rail networks but also on surface connections to regional airports to enable travel and growth both within the UK and on an international scale.”

GTMC represents a range of travel management companies – from global companies to small independent specialists and top regional agencies – and was founded in 1967. The association acts to lobby those who have an impact on the business travel community, together with promoting the activities of its members as the best in quality and value to the business traveller.