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UK general election: cruise industry reacts to Labour landslide

Labour leader prime minister Keir Starmer general election

Collaboration on sustainability, support for small businesses and investment in the future workforce are at the top of the travel industry’s list of priorities for the new government

On Friday morning (5 July) it was confirmed that Keir Starmer’s Labour Party had reached the 326-seat threshold to win the 2024 UK general election, sweeping aside the Conservative Party in a landslide victory.

Transport secretary and Conservative MP Mark Harper lost his Forest of Dean seat to Labour’s Matt Bishop while Covid-era transport secretary Grant Shapps, now the defence secretary, lost his Welwyn Hatfield seat to Labour’s Andrew Lewin.

Conservative MP and tourism minister Julia Lopez held her Hornchurch and Upminster seat as shadow secretary of state for culture, media and sport and Labour MP for Bristol Central Thangam Debbonaire lost her seat to the Green Party’s Carla Denyer.

While speaking at Cruise Trade News’ Cruise Summit earlier this year, Andy Harmer, managing director of CLIA UK, told the audience that sustainability efforts need accelerating, with the party that wins the general election needing to play a central role.

“The cruise industry makes a vital contribution to the UK, generating billions for the economy and supporting many thousands of jobs across the country,” he said on Friday (5 July).

“CLIA will continue to work with MPs across all major parties, to build an understanding of the benefits of a thriving cruise industry.

“Ahead of the election, the industry built strong relationships with representatives of the new government that has now been elected and we look forward to working with them, as well as with opposition MPs and backbenchers, alongside government officials and other stakeholders, on behalf of the cruise industry.”

ABTA to engage new govt following general election result

Chief executive of ABTA Mark Tanzer said the association is in a “very strong place” to engage with the new government, MPs and officials.

“We’ve already put in a lot of work with parliamentary candidates across the political spectrum, which means we can hit the ground running in engaging them in the issues that matter to our members and the wider industry,” he said.

ABTA will be contacting newly appointed ministers over the coming days to “remind them of the huge value” of the outbound travel industry to the UK economy, which contributes £49 billion a year and supports 843,000 jobs.

It’s important that policy changes are delivered in a way that protects the vast benefits that travel and tourism brings

Another key talking point for the organisation is the urgent need for government intervention to help the travel industry achieve its sustainability goals.

Abta will also remind the new government of the ongoing challenges facing travel businesses of all sizes at present, such as the squeeze on consumer spending and repayment of Covid loans, as well as the opportunities available to support the sector.

“It’s important that policy changes are delivered in a way that protects the vast benefits that travel and tourism brings, both here at home and in communities around the world,” he said.

Meanwhile, Steve Witt, co-founder of Not Just Travel, expects the homeworking agency’s strong sales performance in 2024 to continue with a post-election boost.

“If there’s one thing that boosts customer confidence it is certainty and stability,” he added. “We are looking forward to a period of long-term clarity which provides consumers with confidence to move ahead and feel comfortable in spending on their favourite purchases – holidays.”

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