Zipping around the French Alps last week, amid the raging referendum debate, I considered how my ski holiday might be different in three or four years’ time, if the UK votes on June 23 to leave the European Union.
Sailing through immigration at Grenoble, and that £1.99 daily cap on mobile data-roaming, could be a thing of the past. If my flight was delayed, I’d be unable to claim compensation, and I’d no longer be entitled to free health care. The British seasonnaires in my Neilson hotel might find themselves unable to work in Europe without a permit, and with the pound expected to weaken against the euro post Brexit, my cheese fondue would seem considerably pricier.
And if predictions on how holiday costs themselves would increase are accurate, a week full-board with flights and transfers would have cost me a damn sight more than £616 in the first place. In fact, the only potential positive I could see was that I’d have been able to buy a £25 bottle of vodka in duty-free for £16.
Of course, the impact on Brits holidaying in Europe is only a tiny part of this very significant debate.
But in the past few weeks we have seen several influential travel figures state in no uncertain terms they too think remaining in the EU – despite its many flaws – makes more sense for Britain than leaving. Leaders from Willy Walsh and Carolyn McCall to Richard Branson and Peter Long have laid out varying concerns that the UK economy will tumble; that security will be compromised; that the entire EU could break up; and that flights and outbound holidays will cost more – which is codswallop according to Ukip’s Nigel Farage.
This week, we have spoken to industry experts, lobbyists and even Farage himself to bring you every side of this complicated debate.
I hope it will prove helpful in deciding whether you think leaving the EU would spell trouble for the travel industry and for the UK at large, or if fears of how we’d be affected have in fact been overblown.
I’m not sure I want duty-free vodka enough to risk it.