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ABTA Tourism Manifesto

April 18, 2015 4:07 PM

As a former Chair of ABTA's Aviation committee I am familiar with the work of the Association and strongly supportive of its work within the industry.

Tourism and heritage collectively make up as much as 9% of our economy, and yet, in my view, these industries do not have the status they deserve in government or in wider society. That's why Liberal Democrats will work to make sure the British tourism industry is able to compete with other major world destinations and be a key generator of growth in the UK economy.

Liberal Democrats in Government have been strong supporters of the tourism industry. Since 2011, we have invested £125m in international promotion for the UK, including through the high profile GREAT campaign. This is estimated to have driven an additional £200m visitor spending in the UK. We have also worked with Visit England and the tourism boards of the devolved administrations to promote the "staycation" and boost tourism in the UK.

We reviewed the visa regime to enable more international visitors to take their holidays here. A new 24 hours "super priority" visa service for Chinese nationals was launched last summer.

Going forward we will strengthen the Hospitality and Tourism Council, jointly chaired by the Business and Culture Secretaries. It will act as a voice for tourism in Government and will focus on areas where there are barriers to growth facing the sector.

We will also give a higher status to tourism within the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Building on our successful Tourism North and Tourism South West initiatives, we will devolve more power, resources and decision-making to local areas to promote their unique tourism propositions in the UK and globally.

Liberal Democrats are leading the renewal of Britain's ageing infrastructure but we still have decades of under-investment to catch up on. We need better transport infrastructure, a modern railway system, and less congestion on our roads. That's why we will set out a 10-year rolling capital investment plan for infrastructure and develop a comprehensive plan to electrify the overwhelming majority of the UK rail network, reopen smaller stations, and restore. We will also proceed with HS2, as the first stage of a high-speed rail network to Scotland.

Our airport infrastructure must meet the needs of a modern and open economy, without allowing emissions from aviation to undermine our goal of a zero-carbon Britain by 2050. We will carefully consider the conclusions of the Davies Review into runway capacity and develop a strategic airports policy for the whole of the UK in light of those recommendations and advice from the Committee on Climate Change.

Joe Bourke
Brentford and Isleworth Liberal Democrats