Centara Hotels & Resorts

Published on Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Don't do anything drastic over Brexit uncertainty, ABTA delegates told

Don't do anything drastic due to Brexit uncertainty, delegates were told at this year's ABTA Travel Convention.

A panel of business leaders discussing the future of travel were asked to share one piece of parting advice for their audience.

Both Richard Calvert, CEO of Shearings' parent Specialist Leisure Group, and John Bevan, CEO dnata Travel Europe, said companies shouldn't make any big changes in light of Brexit negotiations and the fear of there being a no-deal situation.

"Stick to your plan, don't do anything radical, just get your business in the best place possible. Don't do anything drastic," said Bevan.

Bevan had earlier told the audience he was more concerned about the impact of Brexit on consumer behaviour than the implications for his own operations.

"The travel industry relies on those forward bookings. My concern is that people will be holding back and waiting to see what happens and won't book because they're worried they won't be able to go anywhere," he said.

Calvert said although the majority of the company's operations were domestic, it employs 1,500 EU citizens in its 45 hotels. "There is a great deal of nervousness," he said.

The Brexit discussion came as Sir Amyas Morse, comptroller and auditor general of the National Audit Office, raised new fears that planes between the UK and the EU could be grounded if talks collapse.

Giving evidence to the Brexit select committee today, Sir Amyas was asked by Brexiteer Tory Peter Bone if it was inconceivable that planes could be stopped from flying.

His response was: "It's not implausible, it's not impossible. It could happen deliberately, it could happen by mistake. It depends on how friendly or unfriendly the accompanying music is while all this goes on."

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