So it’s finally happened. Union Jacks are to be flown on The Mall, Westminster will be lit in red, white and blue, and anyone utterly sick of the B word can now breathe a sigh of relief that, finally, it’s all over.
Because while the UK might have officially exited the EU, now is when the hard work really begins, especially for industries intertwined with EU laws and regulation – like travel.
There’s the air service arrangement to protect flights to be agreed, a deal to allow UK workers – such as ski reps – to temporarily work in the EU, a reciprocal healthcare agreement… the list goes on. And this week (on Brexit eve no less) the government announced Brits travelling for business could face further challenges.
There are positives, of course. The UK’s January exit date undoubtedly provided some much-needed certainty, and few can deny it helped fuel a strong peaks for many.
Certainty is also helpful for attracting new investors to the sector, as Clive Wratten, chief executive of the Business Travel Association, pointed out to TTG at the Business Travel Association Winter Conference this week.
It would be foolhardy, though, to forget this relative certainty has a sell-by date – 31 December 2020, to be precise. And as industry leaders have highlighted to TTG, there is a lot to sort out before then.
“As far as travel is concerned, so much remains uncertain,” says Cosmos’s Giles Hawke. He’s not wrong. This isn’t “remoaner” speak, it’s practicality. Optimism is important, but so too is bracing for the challenges ahead – and ensuring travel is front of the queue as the government addresses the issues.
If you hoped you’d heard the last of the B word, you’d better hope again. We’re just getting started.