GTMC: Coalition government ‘would increase lobbying pressure’

A coalition government will require double the effort in industry lobbying to make an impact, according to the Guild of Travel Management Companies.

And a government including the Liberal Democrats could prove challenging for the industry, with the party opposed to Heathrow expansion – as are the Conservatives – but also in favour of doubling the tax on flying.

GTMC chief executive Anne Godfrey told the guild’s conference in Hong Kong: “A coalition means it will be difficult for government to agree big projects and doubles the amount of effort required [by us] because there will be two parties to deal with. Lobbying will be more difficult, but also more important.”

The GTMC believes there is no chance of a third runway going ahead at Heathrow under either a Tory or Labour-led coalition, having recently changed its policy to move from support for a runway to lobbying for more capacity at the airport. That shift is in contrast to travel agent association Abta, which remains in favour of Heathrow expansion.

Godfrey told the conference: “It will be interesting if the Liberal-Democrats have a say in transport policy.” The UK’s third largest party advocates replacing APD with a tax on aircraft, but wants to increase the amount this raises to £6 billion a year.

The GTMC had made big strides in lobbying policymakers over the past two years, said Godfrey – adding: “Unlike some, the GTMC is not all hot air.”

However, the sector had to be realistic about the limits to lobbying by small organisations. Godfrey said: “The Confederation of Business Industry has 73 policy staff alone. We have four people at the GTMC.”

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