The travel industry has been warned it must be “punchier” in defence of its future skills and immigration needs post-Brexit.
Charles Owen, co-founder of Seasonal Businesses in Travel (Sbit), a coalition of nearly 300 outbound travel companies, said he was tired of the travel and tourism sector failing to make its voice heard on vital Brexit issues.
He said debates too often featured representatives from other sectors, such as the fishing industry, which is worth far less to the economy than the £32.3 billion generated annually by outbound travel.
“We need to be punchier,” said Owen, speaking on a panel discussing the importance of labour mobility to travel at Abta’s “Brexit – the immigration and skills challenge” event on Monday (24 February).
He told delegates it was vital to distinguish between immigration and posted work, stressing Sbit members weren’t seeking any kind of immigration “status” for posted employees.
Abta has called for existing mobility arrangements, particularly for young people, to be extended to partially replace the EU Posted Workers Directive, which will cease to apply on 1 January 2021.
Owen said young people would be disproportionately affected if no new agreement is reached, citing Sbit figures that suggested about 87% of posted workers are likely to be aged 18-34.