Unlocking Travel’s Potential: The importance of UK-EU mobility for jobs and growth

The UK’s outbound travel industry is a success story; the industry supports more than 840,000 jobs in the UK and contributes more than £49 billion a year in GVA to the economy. UK tourists are also hugely important to the countries they visit, with the EU receiving nearly 70 million visits from the UK annually, generating more than €40 billion in economic activity in local communities across the EU.

It is increasingly clear that, following the UK’s departure from the EU, the limitations of the current trading relationships between the UK and EU, including the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), have created new barriers for UK travel businesses providing holidays in Europe. The most significant of these barriers concerns the mobility of staff – the ability of UK travel businesses to hire UK nationals to work in the EU and support the delivery of holidays to UK travellers.

Prior to the end of the transition period in 2020, UK nationals could live and work across Europe without the need to obtain visas or work permits. That is no longer the case. While the TCA did include provisions for certain tourism workers to operate between the UK and EU for 90 days in any 180-day period, this doesn’t work for all roles or cover the length of a typical summer or winter holiday season. There are also other barriers including national limitations on who can fulfil certain roles within Member States, either based on qualifications or nationality, and quotas, which combined with the rules limiting length of stay have increased the costs and red tape involved in operating holidays across Europe.