The European Tourism Association (Etoa) has warned of staffing challenges in the industry as Europe and the UK grapple with the prospect of Brexit.
The association, which has more than 1,100 members – almost 30 of whom will be on its stand at WTM London – said it would be using this year’s event to inform and support the sector in the face of this political uncertainty.
Amid myriad concerns on Brexit, Tom Jenkins, CEO of Etoa, said: “One of the biggest impacts that we can predict – and which is already taking hold – is recruitment.
“The impact on the end of freedom of movement for our members and their clients is enormous. Our members need multi-linguists, yet talented European residents are being put off from coming to the UK for work, as future regulations are as yet unclear.”
Elsewhere at WTM London, Etoa will champion its 2020 vision of Better Tourism in Europe as it seeks a more “sustainable business environment” amid concerns about overtourism.
Acknowledging Europe “is in the fortunate position of being a popular tourist destination,” Jenkins noted that crowding “is therefore likely”, and that Etoa’s ambition was to “play a role in enabling a fair and sustainable business environment so that Europe remains competitive and appealing for residents, visitors and industry.”
Asked whether tourism taxes could be helpful in tackling overtourism, Jenkins replied: “Tax is inflationary and affects competitiveness. Note should be taken of the cumulative effect of local taxes on competitiveness in any given country.”
He also noted there “should be reciprocity”; while not all revenue might be allocated to services and infrastructure that visitors may use, most should.
“We stress the need for consultation with the industry, and for due notice to be given of changes,” he added.