The Minister’s speech tackled some of the critical issues facing business travellers in the UK, and noted that business travel managers “of all the transport audiences I address as a minister…must be among the best informed and most discerning” with their unique experience of the transport system and its strengths and weaknesses.
Outlining Government’s plans to invest in improving roads, expanding the rail network and increasing airport capacity, Mr Hammond observed that failing to do so would lead to reduced competitiveness of the UK and a potential failure to attract international investors.
Plans outlined in the speech included:
· £1.5bn funding to improve the road network to ease congestion and speed up journeys
· An “unprecedented commitment to the future of rail” with Network Rail plans to spend £37 billion to run and expand the railway between 2014 and 2019
· Plans to deliver 140,000 seats on trains at peak times by the end of the decade
· A focus on increasing airport capacity through the Airports Commission, due to publish their first report later this year.
Egencia UK Managing Director Graham Kingsmill commented “At Egencia we are continually investing in travel management technology that meets the modern traveller’s expectations of productive and enjoyable business trips. However, complete modern traveller experience can only be achieved with an effective transport infrastructure behind it. I was pleased to hear from the Minister the plans Government are putting into action to bring forward rail investment and HS2 for faster journeys and more passenger seats, as well as tackling airport capacity which is a pressing issue for many business travellers. We will continue follow these developments with interest.”
The Business Travel Conference 2013 took place on 4 and 5 June 2013 at the Novotel London West, Hammersmith. Leading industry speakers came together to form an educational programme of seminars and workshops giving those responsible for booking, buying, arranging or handling business travel and meetings the opportunity to discuss some of the major issues facing the travellers today.
Kingsmill further noted: “we always enjoy taking part in TBTC for the quality of expert commentary from speakers and insightful debate amongst delegates. This year we are particularly pleased to be sponsoring Mr Hammond’s keynote speech as an opportunity to explore some major issues - a reflection of our commitment to innovation in addressing some of the greatest challenges facing our industry for the benefit of our customers.”