UK-based travel businesses are facing “significant” operational challenges organising trips to the EU following Brexit, according to the travel association ABTA.
Luke Petherbridge, ABTA’s director of public affairs, told UK law-makers that travel to the EU was now “less seamless”, with restrictions such as how long UK passport holders can stay in the EU over a 180-day period and travellers now having to use third-country lanes at EU airports.
Petherbridge also cited restrictions on business travel post-Brexit during an appearance at the House of Lords European Affairs Committee on Tuesday (13 December).
He said the introduction of the EU Entry-Exit System (EES) in May 2023 could also “significantly increase processing times at borders”. EES is an automated IT system for registering travellers from third countries, including short-stay visa holders and visa exempt travellers, every time they cross an EU external border.
More positively, Abta said that the introduction of the EU’s new ETIAS electronic travel system, which has been delayed until November 2023, was not “not expected to deter travel, as UK travellers have experience with similar systems including the US ESTA scheme”.
ABTA has highlighted several issues about the impact of Brexit on UK-EU travel such as the ending of freedom of movement for UK nationals across the continent, which has created new barriers for them working in the EU.
The association also called for the mutual recognition of professional qualifications between the UK and EU to allow people in the sector to work across these borders.