A fresh vote on leaving the EU may be the only way to break the current political impasse and begin to address the damage caused by two-and-a-half years’ stagnation, Seasonal Businesses in Travel (SBIT) spokesperson Diane Palumbo told TTG ahead of the vote on the EU withdrawal bill, which was voted down on Tuesday evening by a record majority.
“Our hope is for a people’s vote,” she said. “When we last surveyed members, there was a huge majority in SBIT for another vote. We need to know what the situation is now in our divided country. Good democracies change their minds when the information on which a decision was made changes.”
SBIT will this week survey around 250 members and partner organisations to gauge the real-world impact of Brexit – to date – on jobs, and the likely impact of Britain leaving the EU. The coalition believes Brexit risks as many as 25,000 jobs across the travel sector.
“We were certainly employing more staff during the 2015/16 season than we are now,” said Palumbo, Skiworld sales and marketing director. “We mustn’t forget the holiday industry tends to plan up to two years in advance, so we are already cutting back now.
“Our programmes are behind too. We negotiate three to 10-year accommodation contracts to give our programmes stability, but we’re having to shorten these. We’re losing negotiating power and that’s already coming through in our prices.
“We’re in competition with the rest of Europe. We have to be fit; right now, we’re sitting on the sofa watching nervously through our hands. We’re losing ground to our competitors. To turn things around from this position will be much more difficult. It’s an incredibly challenging climate in which to do business.”
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