The UK’s tourism minister insisted the voice of outbound travel is being heard “strongly, loudly and clearly” by government, as he launched a staunch defence of its strategy and support for the industry during the pandemic.
Nigel Huddleston was put on the spot during an at-times heated interview with TTG editor Sophie Griffiths during TTG’s Agenda 2021 conference.
Huddleston, who took on his role in February and has previously worked as Google’s industry head of travel, said “billions upon billions” of pounds had been given to help hospitality, leisure and tourism businesses.
He said claims government was not listening to the outbound sector were “100% not true” and insisted the industry’s support within Westminster had “never been stronger”.
“There are multiple champions of the international tourism sector [within government],” he said, although he admitted there was a “case to centralise a bit more” with outbound currently straddling three departments.
He disagreed a dedicated minister for travel was the solution, saying such a move would prompt calls from other industries. “You’re then talking about hundreds and hundreds of extra ministers.”