City Cruises

Published on Monday, March 14, 2016

Brexit would be bad for travel, says ABTA




The potential risks and uncertainty of leaving Europe outweigh any advantages from a travel perspective, says an ABTA report.

Based on economic analysis by Deloitte, the report highlights concerns about the impact of years of uncertainty following an exit and how this could affect the strength of the pound.

Key findings also include:

- Concerns that a Brexit could jeopardise strong travel and tourism flows between the UK and EU

- The need to replace key travel regulation, including open skies agreements, consumer protection laws and rules over flight delay compensation

- The negative impact on the UK industry's employment of immigrants, particularly high in the hospitality business

- The potential UK exit of the European Health Insurance Card scheme.

ABTA chief executive Mark Tanzer said: "Our assessment of the report's findings is that a vote to leave will lead to uncertainties and may lead to increased costs for travel businesses and the travelling public.

"We recognise that people will approach this referendum by considering many factors - personal, professional, and economic - before casting their vote.

"ABTA has considered what a vote to leave the EU might mean purely from a travel perspective. Our view is that the potential risks and downsides are not matched by an equal upside for the traveller."

The bosses of several major airlines and travel companies have already voiced their support for Britain to remain part of the European Union.


Peter Long, chairman of TUI's Supervisory Board, Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary, easyJet chief executive Carolyn McCall, Air Asia chief Tony Fernandes and lastminute.com co-founder Martha Lane Fox, plus the chiefs of Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester Airports Group, have all signed a letter backing David Cameron's campaign to stay.


Adding his voice today, Monarch CEO Andrew Swaffield warned an exit would 'most likely' lead to higher air fares and fewer scheduled flights between the EU and the UK.


Meanwhile, Doreen McKenzie, owner of Belfast-based travel agent Knock Travel, said an exit would be disastrous for consumer confidence and those working in the industry.

"Thanks to the EU's 'open skies' agreement, a whole new world of travel has opened up to many more people over the past 20 years, and now we're in a position where more of us can travel to more destinations more cheaply than ever before.

"Confidence in travel is high but if we leave the EU, there would be a prolonged period of uncertainty during any re-negotiation period and this could take several years. The effect of this would most likely be more bureaucracy and increased travel costs, which in turn would impact negatively on consumer confidence.

"Combine this with the fact that many current EU regulations have been put in place to benefit and protect holidaymakers and business travellers - including reciprocal health arrangements, compensation for delayed flights, financial protection for package holidays, freedom of movement amongst others - and it becomes clear that for UK travellers, the benefits of remaining in the EU far outweigh any perceived negatives.

"I've yet to see any convincing, evidence-based arguments from the 'leave' campaign to make me change my mind."

 

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