Twenty-seven weeks and two days; the amount of time left until we officially Brexit.
Depending on your position, the world as we know it will either plunge into darkness or we will finally secure our “independence” and take to the streets, waving our Union Jacks in celebration. I know which outcome I’m leaning towards.
Regardless of your viewpoint, it seems almost certain we will be departing the EU in some form come March 29 (although anything could yet happen). And so it was with frustration we learned last week of some of the potential repercussions for travel should we crash out of the EU without a deal.
The key word is of course “potential”. Much still remains up in the air regarding Brexit (not least whether planes will themselves be airborne).What we do know is there will be changes to the validity of passports. Travellers renewing passports now face losing up to nine months’ validity due to recent changes to Home Office rules. Given that Brits travelling to most EU countries after March 29 will could see a significant rise in demand for new ones.
Other worrying ramifications include increased red tape for UK drivers heading to Europe, and a possible end to the ban on mobile roaming charges we’ve all enjoyed since June 2017 (p8 of this week’s TTG).
These are, admittedly, relatively small administrative issues. Big questions remain about crucial concerns such as aviation deals, EU holiday visas, and freedom of movement for Brit workers abroad. But the fact these smaller issues have negative ramifications for travel is not a great sign.
Along with many in the industry (poll results, p28), TTG believes Brexit to be a calamitous mistake. That there is still such uncertainty should we fail to secure a deal only rings further alarm bells.
Like other sectors, travel deserves better than this. We have 27 weeks and two days to make our voice heard. It’s time we all started speaking more loudly.