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09 Jun 2017

BY Tom Parry

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General election: May's 'gamble' did not pay off, says Abta

Theresa May took “a gamble… and things haven’t played out how she wanted them to,” according to Abta’s director of public affairs.

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The industry awoke to upheaval across the UK political landscape following the general election

Alan Wardle delivered his damming analysis as the travel industry awoke to upheaval across the UK political landscape following the declaration of a hung parliament in yesterday’s general election.

 

He said the association would be contacting whichever party formed the next government to “highlight the importance of tourism to jobs and the economy” as part of its #valuetourism campaign.

 

Prime minister Theresa May’s Conservatives became the country’s largest party but failed to secure an overall majority.

 

May has claimed 12 fewer seats than when she called the election in April with 318, against Labour, who have made significant gains with 261 seats.

 

Elsewhere the Scottish National Party claimed 35 seats – down from the previous election in 2015 - while the Liberal Democrats won 12 seats.

 

Despite the result, May has announced her intentions to travel to Buckingham Palace later this afternoon to seek the Queen’s permission to form a government.

 

As a result of the uncertainty over Westminster, the pound has fallen sharply with sterling’s value dropping as trading got underway in London this morning (June 9) standing 2% lower at around $1.27 against the dollar.

 

Against the euro, the pound was down 1.7% at 1.1350.

 

Wardle said that Abta would continue its pre-election lobbying work, during which it contacted more than 2,000 electoral candidates from across the parties to emphasis important to the travel industry.

 

“While it may be several days before we know the new government, it is vital that whoever comes into power does not delay in tackling the important issues facing our industry,” He said.

 

“We will be engaging with the newly elected MPs and cabinet ministers, once confirmed, to encourage support for the industry’s priorities, including our priorities for the Brexit negotiations, and to ensure prompt action on fake holiday sickness claims.”

 

As travel leaders react to the election result, Gary Lewis, chief executive of The Travel Network Group called for “strong and decisive leadership and a clear majority going into the Brexit negotiations.”

 

Lewis said that the “entire country has woken up to a result today that was unexpected”, adding that he believed the power of social media had played a part in helping to shift election issues and fuel wider debate.

 

“What [the election result] does reveal however is the polls and mainstream media have not been able to predict the outcome of the last few major elections, both in the UK and the US,” Lewis said.

 

“I believe this is largely due to the speed of social media and its power to make the news issue shift opinion faster. The results are also proving we have greater democracy in the UK, which has to be a good thing.”

 

During the night, Abta’s former head of public affairs, Luke Pollard was voted into Parliament in his south-west constituency.

 

Pollard was named Labour MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport – after snatching the seat from the Conservative’s Oliver Colvile by 6,000 votes.

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