Advantage CEO launches lobby ‘war chest’

By Linsey McNeill
Home » Advantage CEO launches lobby ‘war chest’

Advantage CEO Julia Lo Bue-Said is asking the UK outbound travel industry to fund ‘a war chest’ to lobby the Government for more financial support.

She said she’s ‘calling on the entire outbound travel sector to come together with one voice’ after criticisms that it’s too fragmented and inconsistent with what it’s asking from the Government.

Her call to action comes the day after the travel industry was overlooked for a £1bn support package, which the Chancellor Rishi Sunak handed to the hospitality industry instead. While agents might be able to apply for some of the £100m additional funding he also announced to help small businesses, there was no specific support for the sector, unlike hospitality.

“The clear difference between our two industries is that they have been successful in lobbying government because they have a dedicated organisation that does just that,” wrote Ms Bue-Said.

“The ‘UK Outbound Travel’ group will aim to help the industry’s voice be heard as we continue to navigate these hugely challenging times.

“By no means am I an expert in this field, and I don’t know what the outcome will look like, but I know we have to try.”

While she insisted that it wasn’t true that the industry had been inconsistent in its call for Government aid, Ms Bue-Said said: “Our asks, co-ordinated though the Save Future Travel Coalition have been aligned. What isn’t aligned is the lobbying required to engage with government at the right level across all relevant departments.

“Never before has the industry had to deal with such a crisis at such a magnitude as a global pandemic.

“The issues that we have been facing are much bigger than any one person or any one business. We need to show a united front and be clear on what we want from our government.

“To ensure we are heard, we need to invest in a dedicated heavyweight lobbying team.”

Adding that the industry is ‘not getting any cut through with MPs’ she said she was ‘at the end of her tether’.

“The Chancellor has shown us that the sector hasn’t been heard, so my challenge to my colleagues across the industry – who will join me in giving us a voice and doing it in the right way through dedicated investment and to stop the cynicism once and for all?”

Ms Bue-Said did not specify how much she is looking to raise or what sort of lobbying team she envisages.

Those who are interested in contributing should contact her on [email protected]

Travel Gossip has invited a response from ABTA, whose Chief Executive Mark Tanzer has been lobbying on behalf of the travel industry since the start of the pandemic.

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