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Published on Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Two business travel agents give their views on the Brexit deal



On 1 January 2021 Britain will enter into a new relationship with the EU which will affect how we travel in and around the Continent.



Here two business travel agents, both partners at Focus Travel Partnership, the business travel consortium for the independent and SME sector, give their views on the pros and cons of the new deal announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week.





Mark Colley, MD of Sunways Business Travel, says:


"Whether you voted remain or leave, we can all breathe a sigh of relief after the Christmas Eve announcement of a deal, however complications will arise for travellers when it comes to certain conditions, like the cap of 90 days spent in the EU per 180 days.



An example of this is one client of ours who provide engineering support to manufacturing, often sending their operators in for long contract periods. In this scenario it is conceivable that they will exceed their 90-day quota.



UK nationals will need a visa for stays of longer than 90 days in the EU in a 180-day period, and the hope is that this process will not be marred in too much red tape - otherwise my client will not be able to confidently tender for contracts within the EU - which will put businesses like these at an extreme disadvantage.



I am, however, confident that most business visits to the EU will only require an additional level of bureaucracy in the form of border checks and paperwork, which companies will quickly overcome.



The Government has been keen to stress it has secured a deal that does not involve tariffs or quotas being imposed on either side. This arrangement will make it easier for businesses to transition to a post-Brexit landscape because it will closely mirror the existing situation under the transition period.



And at least we know that within the deal there is a disentangling of some of the rules regarding state aid, which will allow certain sectors to become more competitive. The EU will become a fertile ground for new business and in many sectors we will see increased activity into the EU.



With Economists predicting that the deal will boost the economy by 6.1%, I believe we have a lot to look forward to in the coming years."



Scott Pawley, MD Global Travel Management says:



"We made the decision to leave the European Union. From that point on it was always better to leave with a trade deal in place, than to leave without a deal. Now that businesses know that there is a deal, they can start to make plans, rapidly, to rebuild the economy.



The deal paves the way for British businesses to decide when, where and how to compete on the global stage - this was the whole point of Brexit.

No-one yet knows what the long-term economic impact of this deal will be. But British businesses are now in a position to maximise every opportunity this deal throws up.



UK passengers travelling to EU countries will be able to take advantage of duty-free shopping from January 2021.



And the reassurance that consumer protection for air travellers will be as strong as before and aviation security standards will be maintained as rigorously as before



But the disadvantages are:

* Passengers must be able to show a return or onwards ticket at border controls



* We expect it to take longer to clear passport control within EU Countries



* UK travellers will not require a visa for short trips (up to 90 days in any 180-day period) to most EU countries, - who tracks this traveller or Travel Agency, we have the tools to do this.



* Passport must have at least 6 months validity



* Loss of the EHIC benefits (European Health Insurance Card) so travellers must always obtain travel insurance



* From 1 January 2021, the guarantee of free mobile phone roaming throughout the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway will end."

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