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Travel industry news

20 Mar 2018

BY James Chapple


Brexit: Abta urges industry to look ahead to March 2019

Abta is urging the travel industry to look ahead to 2019 and Britain’s impending departure from the European Union.

Brexit, Union Jack and EU flags iStock

More than 150 business leaders from across the industry will gather in central London on Tuesday (March 20) to debate the impact of Brexit on the sector.


The event, hosted by Abta, will explore the outcomes for business when Britain leaves the EU and how best to prepare.


It comes just days before the one-year-to-Brexit deadline (March 29, 2019).


On Monday (March 19), the terms of Britain’s Brexit transition period were agreed in principle with the EU following a meeting between David Davis, secretary of state for exiting the European Union, and Michel Barnier, European chief negotiator for Brexit.


The transition agreement will run from March 29, 2019, to the end of December 2020.


The EU’s Council of Ministers is expected to sign off the agreement at a meeting on Thursday (March 22).


Abta wants action on four themes in relation to travel: aviation access and open skies; ensuring businesses can post staff to support holidaymakers; visa-free travel for holidaymakers and business travellers; and protection of consumer rights.


Earlier this month, new EU draft guidelines stated two fresh agreements would be required to safeguard the UK’s aviation relationship with Europe post Brexit, a move welcomed by the Airports Council International and the Airport Operators Association.


Last year, Abta’s “Travelling Together” report stated UK travellers were worth more than £37bn to the economies of the EU 27.


Mark Tanzer, Abta chief executive, said: “Agreeing the terms of a transition period is a helpful development, and would give a degree of confidence to consumers and businesses.


“But it’s important that, as an industry, we look ahead to what we’re transitioning to – we need to start talking about what the future relationship will look like and agreeing the legal framework to make this happen.


“Many travel companies have already begun to look ahead to 2019, knowing that some British holidaymakers will be looking to plan their trips now for next year.


“So today’s event is a good opportunity to for the industry to have a constructive conversation about some of the possible outcomes of the next phase of the negotiations, and identify how businesses may want to prepare.”

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