Advantage boss praises ‘exceptional people’ in travel industry ‘economic powerhouse’

Julie Lo Bue-Said praises industry
By Linsey McNeill
Home » Advantage boss praises ‘exceptional people’ in travel industry ‘economic powerhouse’

Advantage Chief Executive Julia Lo Bue-Said described the travel industry as a ‘phoenix rising from the ashes’ this year.

Having been ‘tried and tested’ during the pandemic, Julia said: “We came back with a vengeance, rallied and showed resilience like never before.  

“And I can say with confidence it’s because of the exceptional people talent, across our dynamic industry that make it the economic powerhouse it is.”

Addressing guests at the Advantage Big Celebration Lunch – the first for four years – Julia said Advantage has had an ‘exceptionally strong year’, during which it grew its membership by 25% and achieved a turnover of more than £7.6 billion in the UK, up 69% year on year.

“With an ambitious recruitment plan in place, footprint expansion remains one of our key strategic pillars across all our member disciplines and operating models,” she added.

“As an independent membership organisation, we are uniquely positioned.  We are financially robust with the ability to invest in membership services – and we continue to focus on growth and leveraging the size of the network to maximise relevant member benefits.”

Julia was also appointed a member of the Tourism Industry Council this year, which she said gives Advantage a ‘direct line’ into the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. “I am committed to do all I can to work collectively with other likeminded businesses and together with our industry partners as part of our UK Outbound Think Tank to amplify our voice,” she said.

“In the past year, we have met with senior Government Ministers, attended both policy and industry-led round tables, and held meetings with civil servants.

“Our MP Engagement programme, launched in July 2023, is gaining great traction. Thus far, 50 MPs across a range of political parties have met, or are due to meet, with members in their local constituencies, with plans for more in the pipeline. 

“Overall, the direction of our Think Tank continues to gain traction and pace and we envisage that we will have more travel companies joining us in 2024 – as fundamentally, to amplify our lobbying capabilities the think tank requires funding.

“There can be no doubt that with a general election looming, we need to increase our momentum to ensure our profile as an economic sector continues to gain increased recognition and profile with Government. 

“And this is particularly pertinent as lobbying isn’t just about shouting during a crisis, it’s about our ability to influence and shape policies before the policy comes to fruition, and to be recognised as go to experts.”

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