Travel companies have been urged to include Brexit clauses in their contracts to protect both themselves, and their clients.
The warning came at the Elman Wall Directors’ Summit as senior leaders discussed the challenges presented by the uncertainty surrounding the UK’s impending departure from the EU.
“We hear a lot about the worst case scenario, and I don’t believe that’s going to happen,” Joanna Kolatsis, director at Themis Advisory, told delegates. “No one on either side wants planes to stop flying… but I think putting a Brexit clause in contracts makes sense so that if you can’t provide the flight you can provide a cancellation and refund.”
Victoria Bacon, director of brand business development at Abta, added: “It as much about making people on both sides [business and consumer] understand their rights”.
Kolatsis agreed, and said: “We can’t stop selling but we can’t give [consumers] answers either so we have to both agree on something. It’s beyond our control.”
Meanwhile Katie Waddington, director of Zenith Holidays and co-founder of Seasonal Businesses in Travel (SBIT) said members of SBIT had mixed projections for their businesses for 2019 post-Brexit.
“Some people have excellent predictions for next year and some are thinking ‘oh my god, what’s going on’. They are worried about what the situation will be in January/February time, because that’s their peak time for booking.”
Waddington said there remained serious concerns over free movement of workers. “We’ll have to put people on French contracts, but we don’t know if we’ll have to put British [workers] on French contracts or not.”
Bacon added that other issues still outstanding included the “mutual recognition of qualifications” – whether UK qualifications will still be recognised in the EU once the UK leaves.
“That’s one of the things that’s up in the air, and for those businesses trying to plan ahead that makes it very difficult,” she said.
Meanwhile accountancy firm Elman Wall claimed a UK travel industry first with its conference yesterday by featuring an all-female line-up.
Managing director Jonathan Wall said the move was designed to commemorate 100 years since some women were granted the right to vote in the UK and said he wanted to demonstrate that Elman Wall "stands for equality".
Watch the video above for more on how the conference made travel industry history.