Government ‘doesn’t want to just hear a list of our problems’, says ABTA chief

By Linsey McNeill
Home » Government ‘doesn’t want to just hear a list of our problems’, says ABTA chief

ABTA Chief Executive Mark Tanzer says it’s up to the travel industry to come up with solutions to its post-Brexit issues rather than simply presenting the Government with a list of problems.

The list includes UK staff – including resort reps and tour guides – no longer having the right to work within the EU for more than 90 out of 180 days, the introduction of new EU entry and exit checks at the end of this year, and a new e-visa regime being introduced at about the same time.

But in his latest blog, Mark said:  “We know from our extensive experience of lobbying – and from the timely reminder by Baroness de Vere at our Travel Matters conference in December – that Government doesn’t want to just hear a list of problems from industry, it wants to be presented with solutions. And that is what we try to provide throughout our lobbying work.”

He said expanding the Youth Mobility Scheme is ‘a sensible and realistic approach’ to employing UK staff overseas. Admitting that ‘it doesn’t solve the matter entirely’, Mark said this would be ‘a good bridging solution allowing young people from the UK to work in the EU, and vice versa, helping to address some of the staffing – and also expertise – gaps experienced by both the outbound and inbound sectors’. 

“We’re working closely with partners across the industry on this matter, including UKinbound and Seasonal Businesses in Travel, as well as other partners in the Tourism Alliance, and we are raising these matters with MPs, officials, and also with Government Ministers,” he added. 

“There are also many other Brexit-related issues, including ensuring that UK travellers understand and are prepared for the introduction of the EU’s entry and exit checks, recently delayed until the end of the year, and the new e-visa regime coming in at a similar time. We’re also urging both sides to reach agreement on mutual recognition of professional qualifications.

“ABTA is staying across all of the issues that matter to the UK travel industry.”

However, he admitted that some issues, such as the 90-day rule for coach drivers who often spend more than 180 days a year in Europe but don’t have the option to apply for visas in any one state, are tricky to solve.

“That issue doesn’t have a simple fix, but it is important we continue to raise it with Government to keep it on the agenda, and the fact it will also affect freight drivers is a reminder of why it is so important to work collectively not just across the travel industry but also beyond,” added Mark.

“Ever since the referendum in 2016, ABTA has maintained a constructive dialogue with UK and EU Governments on these matters. 

“As we continue to lobby on behalf of members across Government, I was pleased to join the first Aviation Council meeting yesterday, set up in the wake of the pandemic with the aim of greater cross-government and industry collaboration on international travel.  

“The Council will be tackling the question of summer 2023 aviation resilience, as well as the longer-term strategic challenge of how to resource the people and skills the industry will need, and how to meet net zero targets while continuing to grow.”

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