12 December 2022, etc.venues Monument, London
Business Travel Show Europe, presented by The BTN
21 November, London Hilton Metropole
The government must ensure the UK has continued access to the “liberalised” European aviation market following Theresa May’s decision to pull the UK out of the single market, travel trade body ABTA has said.
In a speech, the prime minister said the UK “cannot possibly” remain within the European single market, as staying in it would mean “not leaving the EU at all”.
However, May promised to secure the “greatest possible” access after Brexit.
Alongside securing aviation rights, ABTA wants government to ensure the public will enjoy visa-free travel and that businesses can access and place staff across the European Union.
“The EU is the main market for UK travel companies and in its negotiations the Government must make it possible for travel businesses to continue to operate in the EU,” said ABTA's director of public affairs, Alan Wardle.
“Among other things this means access to the liberalised aviation market in Europe, ensuring the public can still have visa-free travel and ensuring that travel businesses can access and place the staff they need to run effective businesses across the EU.”
American Express GBT has warned that businesses are “tired of the uncertainty” surrounding Brexit. “While Theresa May’s speech clarifies the government’s intentions up to a point, there is no way of knowing what will come out of the negotiations,” said vice-president Jason Geall. “The uncertainty is not going away any time soon, which is not good for business.
“Being outside the customs union will bring challenges, and not being part of the single market throws the free movement of goods, services and people into serious doubt. We must hope that the UK obtains good access into the EU and forges new trade deals elsewhere in the world.”
He added that it’s the “duty” of the travel management community to help businesses “navigate through this period” and ensure “travel policies and programmes are prepared for any changes”.
The British Hospitality Association (BHA) has called for a 10-year implementation period for any changes and warned the hospitality and travel industry could be the worst hit by Brexit.
“The BHA has already called for a 10-year timescale to provide employers and British society more time to adapt, considering that the industry employs well over 700,000 EU workers,” said Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the British Hospitality Association
“In the meantime, it is crucial for the hospitality and tourism industry – the UK’s fourth largest sector – that EU migrants continue to be welcomed into our country,” she added.
May also used her speech to say one of the main priorities was to maintain the common travel area between the UK and Irish Republic.