The British Ambassador to Spain has reassured the industry the government is working “day in, day out” to secure a Brexit deal with its "European partners".
Speaking at the Abta Travel Convention on Tuesday (October 9), Simon Manley said Spain had “a lot of skin in Brexit”, with 300,000 British residents, 185,000 Spaniards living in the UK, and €60 billion euro commercial relationship.
“We are working day in, day out to try and secure a deal with our European partners: we want to maintain frictionless trade with our European partners and frictionless travel, and we know at the heart of that lie aviation agreements.
“We want people to be able to move freely across Europe and that your industry continues to flourish as we leave the European Union.”
However he added: “As part of that we are also having to prepare for the worst.
“We don’t think we’re not going to get an agreement, we are absolutely committed to securing an agreement.”
He said the government had produced posters in the past few weeks, which “try to give advice”.
Manley added: “One thing remains sure: that partnership we have with all of you and will continue in the year ahead, to ensure tourism here and across the world continues to flourish and British travellers continue to enjoy safe and enjoyable trips abroad.”
Spain was the number one tourism destination for Britons, receiving 19 million tourists last year – it is the biggest consular network in the world, Manley said.
“It’s been a tough summer for us here in Spain, a tough year,” he said.
Over the course of the summer Manley’s consular teams have dealt with 330 deaths and 400 hospitalisations.
“The partnerships we have with all of you are fundamental,” Manley told the conference.
“Over the last year or so we’ve got a lot to be really thankful for in terms of the cooperation which we have had, in particular in the work we’ve done with Abta over the spare of gastric food complaints, which did so much to tarnish the reputation of Britons in this country.
“It’s very hard for people here to understand what was going on… I’m so glad that by working with you we have managed to put a check on those complaints and helped to restore the image of Britons in Spain.
“We’re working with all of you to explain the risks that people face – how people can ensure their holidays are happy, safe and secure – we’ve got more work to do on that.”
He added: “We’ve taken lessons of this summer to ensure the campaigns we run over the year ahead are ones that enable us to ensure those holidays are safe and secure.”