Tourism and the Queen’s Speech

By | Category: Travel news

It is rare that tourism gets much coverage in the Queen’s Speech but this year tourism has important ramifications because it involves how the free movement of peoples will be managed after Brexit. We also got yet another tourism minister. John Glen takes over from Tracey Crouch who remains Sports minister but loses tourism and heritage subjects to Glen.

The government announced that there will be a Travel Protection Bill which, it says, will improve protection for holidaymakers by updating the UK’s financial protection scheme for holidays. I take this to mean that they will implement the new EU Package Holiday Directive. As part of this they will also update the ATOL scheme so that holidaymakers have more protection whenever buying online so that there will be no protection difference irrespective of whether you book online or on the High Street.

Crucially, as part of this bill, the government will align the ATOL system with EU and the UK package travel regulations. I think this means that EU261 will continue to exist so that airline passengers will continue to receive compensation if flights are delayed or cancelled or their luggage gets lost.

Officially that is all there is about tourism but a couple of other bills will also have important bearing on tourism. Firstly there will be a new data protection bill which will give more “ownership” of your personal details when you give them to tour operators, cruise lines, airlines and all related industries. It looks as though the European legislation known as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) which is due in the summer 0f 2018 will be kept in British law after we leave the EU.

John Glen – the new tourism minister

There is a bill for the extension of HS2 to Crewe and on into the north and Scotland which will speed up passengers journeys for travellers.

It also looks as though there may be some movement on APD – Air Passenger Duty.  As part of the negotiations between the DUP from Northern Ireland and the Conservative government, the BBC has reported that the DUP have included in their negotiations the abolition of APD . I assume they are talking about its removal in Northern Ireland rather than the rest of the UK but, should that be agreed and in conjunction with the Scottish government wanting to remove it, this might be the beginning of the end of the tax. Needless to say the Treasury in Westminster is reported as saying it is opposed to the idea.

Finally there is to be a Civil Liability Bill which will crackdown on fraudulent whiplash claims. At least one MP is being lobbied to include an amendment which will also crack down on fraudulent travel insurance claims and, in particular, these bogus food poisoning claims that have increased dramatically this year. This bill is only applicable to England and Wales but Scottish and Northern Irish legislators would probably copy any bill that improves customer protection.

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