22 Feb

Representing the interests of the travel industry on Brexit

The European Council will meet in a month’s time, and one item expected to be on the agenda is the latest developments around Brexit – which could include details of a transition arrangement between the UK and the EU.

Between now and then, it’s likely we’ll hear more about what a future relationship between the UK and EU could look like after Brexit, particularly given the Prime Minister, Theresa May, is meeting with her Cabinet Ministers today to discuss what kind of arrangement Britain wants.

ABTA is continuing to demonstrate to UK and EU Governments, as well as officials in Brussels, the value and importance of UK outbound tourism and the need for a deal on Brexit which recognises this. Senior representatives from ABTA have been back in Brussels this week, meeting MEPS and officials dealing with Brexit from key markets like Greece and Spain. The feedback all of them gave is that they want to see progress in understanding what the post-Brexit world looks like.  

These meetings build on the work we are doing in making the case to the UK Government about the need to support the UK travel industry during and after Brexit – highlighting the £28bn it contributes to the UK economy every year and the thousands of jobs it supports. We’re raising a number of issues that are of concern to the industry, such as the need for aviation access, visa-free travel and the ability to post workers abroad to support holidaymakers in resort. We’re also making the point that the travel industry works to long lead-in times, meaning it is particularly important for travel businesses to be given some certainty around Brexit, and any transition arrangements, sooner rather than later.

While ABTA continues to put forward the arguments around Brexit on behalf of the industry, we know many travel companies are beginning to look ahead to next year. To help Members consider what Brexit means for their businesses and what plans they may need to put in place, we are holding an event on 20 March in London, which brings together industry leaders and experts to discuss what travel businesses can do to prepare for Britain’s exit from the European Union. The event, which is free for ABTA Members and Partners to attend, is proving to be very popular with over 100 people set to attend. There are still places available for anyone who would like to book.

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive