He’s not ‘batting for the industry’

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

This was the comment made by Mark Tanzer boss of ABTA, the travel agents and tour operator’s main body about Grant Shapps the Secretary of State for Transport.

BTA represents its members not the travelling public

This is a little worrying because Tanzer who leads a lobbying and trade body doesn’t seem to understand that the role of a minister is not to go into bat for the industry that his portfolio covers but to introduce and administer that department.

That someone who earns something like £300,000 a year in pay and perks and where about 60% of the entire funding of ABTA is paid in employment costs doesn’t recognise this rather key provision of government is a bit concerning. Surely someone in the organisation understands government?

If anything the role of the secretary of state is to go into bat for all electors and the population as a whole and how transport affects them. It isn’t to pander to various interest groups, travel being just one part of the transport brief.

ABTA, on the other hand, does have a brief to bat for the travel industry. It doesn’t bat for the traveller or holidaymaker unless its aims and those of the passenger coincide. For the passenger we look to the CAA through its ATOL programme but there is no consumer protection body like Transport Focus which is involved with rail and bus passengers.

Only two months ago, Just about Travel called for there to be a new passenger body instead of the CAA. Perhaps beefing up Transport Focus but a new organisation would be our preference. Whilst the Consumers Association via Which? does make a valuable contribution it is a commercial venture and represents its members who tend not to represent the country as a whole.

A consumer organisation is needed to balance the might of the travel industry in making passengers feelings known.

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