THE UK travel trade’s two main industry bodies – the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) and UKinbound – have warned of turbulent times ahead following the country’s decision to #leave the European Union.
In the immediate aftermath of the #referendum vote, UKinbound CEO Deirdre Wells warned of ‘far-reaching consequences’ for its 370 business members.
‘UKinbound feels the decision to leave the #EU is disappointing,’ she said. ‘However, we have proved time and again that we are a resilient industry and the government must now work hard to secure a deal which supports our vibrant industry, which relies on the European Union for two-thirds of its business. The priority must now be to ensure that our members have the best possible environment in which to grow their business and to support them in welcoming visitors from all corners of the globe.’
ABTA said while the UK trade was entering a ‘period of uncertainty’, in regulatory terms there will not be any immediate changes.
‘Once the UK formally notifies the EU of its intention to leave, the remaining member states will have up to two years to offer the UK a deal for a future trading relationship. This period can also be extended if all parties agree. Until this process is resolved, everything will remain as it is now.’
ABTA reiterated that its role was to help keep the industry informed, to help the public to remain confident in travelling, and to help the government to understand and prioritize those matters that are important to ‘our members and our industry’.
‘ABTA will be working proactively with the government to raise awareness of the priorities for travel businesses, and UK travellers, as they negotiate a future trading relationship. We started this process some months ago, with a programme of engagement with ‘leave’ campaigners in Westminster, and we have prepared a detailed list of policy and regulatory priorities that we will be discussing with leading policymakers in the coming weeks. It will also be important to ensure that the industry’s domestic agenda is not neglected, and ABTA will continue to press for action on airport capacity, ATOL reform, which remains relevant whatever the future of the EU’s Package Travel Directive, and Air Passenger Duty.’
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