The Advantage Travel Partnership and AITO join forces
The Advantage Travel Partnership, Britain’s consortium of independent travel agents, and AITO ( The Specialist Travel Association), have formed a partnership that will raise the profile of the independent and specialist UK outbound travel industry and draw political attention to the many and major issues facing their members.
The partnership brings together Advantage’s 700 independent leisure and business travel agents, and over 270 travel brands from AITO’s independent/specialist operators, with the aim of establishing a lobbying group focused on the SMEs of the UK’s outbound travel sector. The joint turnover of the new partnership is an impressive figure – in excess of £5.7 billion.
Julia Lo Bue-Said, CEO, The Advantage Travel Partnership, says: “I am delighted to be joining forces with AITO and its SMEs, to take forward our vision and to support our combined memberships as the industry continues to face serious challenges. I believe that improving Government’s understanding of the outbound travel sector and raising the industry’s profile is crucial in ensuring that policymakers have the key facts in order to make informed decisions.”
She adds that, in a recent members’ survey undertaken by Advantage, 90% of respondents said that they felt under-represented in terms of Government lobbying, and that joining forces with AITO would give both organisations the platform for a comprehensive public affairs strategy that would deliver for all their members.
Commenting on behalf of AITO, Chris Rowles, Chairman, says: “We are delighted to link with Advantage with the aim of joint Government lobbying. We share not only similar values, but we suffer from similar problems – sheer lack of clout with Government being one of them.
“During the pandemic, AITO worked very hard to gets its key messages into the many relevant Government departments – unfortunately, with limited effect. We believe that joining forces with Advantage will help both organisations to deliver relevant facts to Government that relate to the important SME sector – the lifeblood of the travel industry – and to ensure that we are recognised by the various Government Departments that control our future.” The partnership has appointed FTI Consulting to support its work with immediate effect.