Bosses from the UK industry gathered for a round-table debate hosted by City Cruises and chaired by travel industry stalwart Fiona Jeffrey in London this month.
While a number of topics were up for conversation, the need to maintain a single free airspace was the dominant one.
Alistair Pritchard, lead partner at Deloitte, said: “For us, a single European sky and similar legislation around maritime and rail around Europe is the number one priority.
“The negotiations around how we feed into that are critical because we’ll have to start negotiating bilateral agreements to move aircrafts across Europe and indeed to the US.”
UKinbound chief executive Deirdre Wells agreed, adding: “with 70% of our business coming by air, that’s really critical”.
The second priority was free movement of people for both employment and visitors with Pritchard saying that 70% of hospitality businesses in London rely on it.
City Cruises managing director Kyle Haughton added: “The level of service, work ethic and language skills offered by European workers would be hard to find within the current British workforce.”
He also described a potential visa introduction as a “disaster” with Iain Limond, vice-president groups and offline FIT at JacTravel, adding: “Visas create barriers.”
The group also expressed concern that the vote would give the impression that Britain was no longer a welcoming country, prompting VisitBritain to bring forward its dedicated European campaign to January.
However, the impact of the pound’s fall against other currencies was welcomed as it allowed the UK to position itself as a value for money destination.
And they argued this message could be reinforced with a reduction in tourism VAT and Air Passenger Duty.