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TUI Travel calls on Government to support the travel and tourism sector at home and abroad

October 16, 2014 Corporate No Comments Email Email

With the General Election less than a year away, TUI Travel, Europe’s largest leisure travel organisation, is calling on all political parties to commit to a long term plan to support the travel and tourism sector. Travel and tourism is the UK’s fifth largest industry, accounting 9% of GDP (£127bn) and supporting 3.12 million jobs. TUI Travel alone employees 18,000 people in the UK.

TUI Travel PLC, owner of more than 220 travel brands,  including Thomson and First Choice, TUI, Crystal Ski, and Hayes & Jarvis, today sets out its proposals for the next government to support industry growth and jobs.

The Company has set out five key policy areas: Competition, Infrastructure, Sustainability, Efficient Borders and Future Growth.

Mike Bowers, Group Legal Director at TUI Travel PLC said, As the industry leader it is important that we take an active role in helping to shape the future of travel and tourism. The UK is lagging behind in sustainable aviation and airport capacity.

“Our manifesto is aimed at ensuring customer safety, a fairer playing field for the industry to thrive and a greater experience for all holidaymakers.”

TUI Travel is calling for support from the current and future Governments in five key policy areas:

1. Competition – Ensuring a level playing field and consumer protection by:

  • Clearing-up the confusion around when customers can claim compensation for delays or cancellations by revising the European regulatory framework (EU Regulation 261) and fairly balancing the rights of customers and airlines.
  • Simplifying the Package Travel Directive (PTD or ATOL in the UK) and ensuring a level playing field for all market players offering “package” holiday to consumers – no matter how the package is put together. This could be achieved by implementing two clear categories of package holiday cover – full cover and no cover – with all the so called ‘Assisted Travel Arrangements’ treated as full packages. This will help to ensure all travellers are covered even if they have used multiple providers to book their holidays. See the Viewpoint video here for background information.

2. Infrastructure – Allowing the sector to meet regional and global demand by:

  • Adopting a long term vision on how the UK and EU are going to address growing airport capacity demands and gaining cross Party agreement that the next Government will commit to implementing the Airport Commission’s recommendations.
  • Investing in regional airports, including improving surface access, to give more people access to more destinations without the need for a long journey to the airport.
  • Revising slot allocation rules. Currently, air carriers get the same number of slots to use the airport infrastructure i.e. take-off and landing, as the year before which in many cases is neither fair nor transparent. Greater recognition for new, quieter aircraft when allocating slots.

3. Sustainability – Allowing the sector to grow while minimising environmental impacts by:

  • Supporting the Sustainable Aviation Council’s roadmap for CO2 reduction through greater use of alternative sustainable fuels.
  • Committing to the full implementation of a Single European Sky (SES) which will consolidate air traffic control to four or five suppliers across the EU instead of each country having their own control operation. This will save fuel emissions as airlines will be routed in straight lines instead of zig zags – saving up to 12% of fuel burn.
  • Supporting a global monetary based carbon emission trading scheme, while suspending the EU’s European Trading Scheme (EU ETS).
  • Implementing an industry standard on reporting fuel and carbon efficiency for UK airlines so customers can make informed decisions about which airline to choose

4. Efficient Border Operations – Maintaining secure and timely borders by:

  • Creating a level playing field between air traffic and other modes of transport by requiring the same checks and procedures at all border crossing points. Airlines have made significant investments to comply with the requirements of maintaining safer borders, e.g. supply of advanced passenger information, but public train and ferry operators as well as other private transport means,  such as private jet or boat are not subject to the same requirements.
  • Pushing for clarification from the EU on the legal position around the sharing of Passenger Name Records (PNR). EU data protection rules currently prohibit airlines from sharing PNR data unless bilateral agreements are in place. As agreements only  exist for a small number of countries, including the USA, Canada, Mexico and Australia, airlines are often faced with competing demands as they cannot provide PNR data even though this would improve the security of the border.

5. Future growth – Helping to lay the foundations for future growth in the travel and tourism sector by:

  • Conducting a review of the wider issues hampering growth in the outbound tourism sector such as taxes (e.g. Air Passenger Duty), training and skills, capacity and infrastructure.

Mike added, “We have clearly mapped out our position on key industry principles, regulations and commitments to ensure that we protect the rights of consumers and that of the industry. We strongly urge the Government to simplify the Package Travel Directive, as well as demanding a level playing field for all modes of transport to stop anomalies and ensure safe and secure borders; agree and implement a long term vision for increasing the UK’s airport capacity; and gain full support from all political parties for a Single European Sky to help reduce fuel emissions.”

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