Over 150 business leaders from across the travel industry will gather in central London today to discuss what Brexit means for the sector.
The event, held by ABTA, the Travel Association, will look at the possible scenarios for when the UK leaves the European Union, what these may mean for travel businesses and how businesses can prepare.
ABTA’s event takes place just over a year before the UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March 2019.
Yesterday David Davis, the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, and Michel Barnier, European Chief Negotiator for Brexit agreed in principle the terms for a transition period, which would operate from 29 March 2019 to end of December 2020. The EU Council of Ministers is due to meet on Thursday, where it is hoped Ministers will sign-off the agreement.
Since the referendum ABTA has been working on behalf of its Members and the wider travel industry in highlighting the most important Brexit issues to the travel and tourism sector. It has been encouraging the UK Government to focus on four central points in relation to travel:
Aviation access and open skies
Ensure businesses can post staff to support holidaymakers
Visa-free travel for holidaymakers and business travellers
Protect valuable consumer rights
Its report ‘Travelling Together: The Economic Value of UK Outbound Travel’ released at the end of last year, highlights that UK travellers are worth in excess of €37 billion in total aggregate GVA to the economies of the EU27 and support hundreds of thousands of jobs and businesses abroad.
Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive said:
“Agreeing the terms of a transition period is a helpful development, and would give a degree of confidence to consumers and businesses. But it’s important that, as an industry, we look ahead to what we’re transitioning to – we need to start talking about what the future relationship will look like and agreeing the legal framework to make this happen.
“Many travel companies have already begun to look ahead to 2019, knowing that some British holidaymakers will be looking to plan their trips now for next year. So today’s event is a good opportunity to for the industry to have a constructive conversation about some of the possible outcomes of the next phase of the negotiations, and identify how businesses may want to prepare.”