Labour would consider appointing a dedicated outbound tourism minister to liaise with the trade, the party’s shadow transport secretary has told TTG.
Speaking during an exclusive Face To Face with TTG editor Sophie Griffiths, Jim McMahon said creating a figurehead to represent industry interests was “certainly something we would look at” if Labour was elected in future.
McMahon, appointed by Labour leader Keir Starmer in April, said he recognised the economic importance of outbound tourism and hit out at the lack of sector-specific support from Westminster during the Covid crisis.
“If you want a thriving economy, then you can’t ignore such a significant part of the sector and so of course you have to make sure that you had a view on that.”
He also emphasised the value of travel agents to high streets throughout the UK and the mental health benefits that holidays provide - throwing his support behind TTG’s #SaveTravel campaign.
“For working people who work all year, you want those few weeks to relax with your family and outbound travel is as important as domestic travel in the UK as well,” he said.
“We absolutely understand how important it is – not just for our economy but for what it means to live and [holidays] are a really important part of feeling fulfilled and giving a quality of life and a purpose to life.”
During the interview, McMahon also tackled the government’s “delay, overreact, retreat” approach to travel-related policies during the pandemic, his working relationship with transport secretary Grant Shapps, and the need for more “nuanced and localised” strategy to avoid a repeat of Spain’s FCO advice change.
Meanwhile McMahon has also thrown his support behind TTG’s #SaveTravel campaign. Watch him explain his reasons for his support here and find out how you can also support the campaign.