With just weeks to go until the Government is expected to trigger Article 50, starting a new chapter in the UK’s history, our focus is on securing the brightest possible future for the travel industry and UK holidaymakers and business travellers. Since the referendum vote, travel bookings have been strong, highlighting the resilience of British holidaymakers and their continued desire to travel to Europe and beyond. However, this is by no means a sign that as an industry we can afford to be complacent. When Theresa May triggers Article 50 we will have two years to negotiate the terms of our exit. With the travel industry often working on 12 to 18 month lead times it is essential that during this period of negotiations, consumers and business travellers still feel confident to travel, even if the specifics of our exit from the EU are not yet clear.
This is precisely the point ABTA made to a group of key MPs in Parliament this week. We presented our priorities for Brexit to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, which is carrying out an inquiry into the needs of the tourism industry, amongst others, in regards to Brexit. We emphasised the importance of maintaining the ability to travel with ease across Europe, having the freedom to fly to and from the UK and for companies to have workers where they need them. Underpinning all our priorities, we stressed that there is a fundamental need to maintain consumer confidence in travel to and from the UK. In order to achieve this we asked Ministers to make sure that there are clear transition plans in place, so that even if they are still fine-tuning new laws and negotiating deals, consumers and businesses can continue to book and plan ahead. In the coming weeks we will continue to stress this point to Ministers and the Government to make sure that they factor in the long lead times of the industry and put the necessary transitional plans and communications in place.
Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive