14
October
2019
|
11:31
Europe/London

THE LOTUS WEEKLY BREXIT ROUND-UP

TRAVEL

Dip in concern about Brexit from consumers

In their ‘Holiday Habits Report 2019,’ ABTA reveals that there was a slight dip in people voicing concern about the impact Brexit will have on the cost of their holiday – down 3% from last year to 51%.

The research also found that the number of Brits taking a holiday is the highest it has been since 2011.

The latest Holiday Habits Report found that nine out of 10 Brits (88%) took a holiday in the 12 months to July 2019. Despite the growth, the research also showed holidaymakers are keen to stretch their money further by cutting spend before they travel and whilst away.

ABTA said families were fuelling the growth with families with children over five taking an average of 5.6 holidays a year – half in the UK and half overseas. Younger families (children under five) took an average of 3.9 trips.

‘Grinding uncertainty’ of Brexit to continue

Travel Weekly reports from the ABTA convention in Tokyo that the grinding uncertainty of Brexit looks set to continue whatever the outcome of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s push to leave on October 31.

Peter Foster, Europe editor of the Daily Telegraph, issued the warning at Abta’s Travel Convention on Tuesday saying the “full long-term impacts of Brexit have yet to emerge”.

He said he was less certain about future UK-EU relations than he was two years ago.

s the need to avoid a no-deal Brexit, with the uncertainty and disruption that will surely follow.Meanwhile, the ABTA chief executive Mark Tanzer said that ABTA was having to tell members, and members of the public, to prepare for a no-deal Brexit.

“Not only is the threat of a no-deal exit costly in terms of preparation, but it is also very damaging to consumer confidence.

“In the run-up to the March deadline, we saw an industry slowdown, and the same pattern is repeating itself as we approach another cliff edge.”

UKInbound: Brexit immigration plans ‘threaten UK tourism businesses’

UKinbound has warned that the government’s proposed post-Brexit immigration reforms could “severely destabilise” the UK tourism industry.

Research conducted by the tourism trade association and Canterbury Christ Church University found that the sector, which contributes £145 billion – or 7.2% of UK GDP – to the UK economy, could be at risk with companies forced to shut down.

Nearly one-third of businesses reported that EU workers made up more than half their workforce.

A survey of UK tourism and hospitality businesses found that:

  • 65% said that the proposals would impact negatively on their ability to continue to operate
  • 71% believe that the proposals would impact negatively on their ability to expand
  • 75% believe that the proposals would impact negatively on their ability to remain competitive
  • 68% of tourism businesses cited the limited domestic labour market as the key reason for the continued need for EU workers
  • 80% of tour operators and destination management businesses cited the lack of home-grown talent with foreign language skills as the driving force behind the need for EU workers

UKinbound and other industry associations are calling for language skills to be added to the occupation shortage list and be exempt from immigration restrictions.

Any salary threshold proposed should be regionally set to take into account lower salaries in key tourism hotspots such as the Lake District Quarterly independent reviews are needed to ensure tourism sectors are not adversely affected.

Holiday Extras offers Brexit cover

Holiday Extras is now offering insurance against any disruption caused by a no-deal Brexit.

The travel add-ons specialist’s “Brexit Disruption” insurance covers cancellation of flights, ferries or Eurostar trains travelling between UK and EU, or closure of the Channel Tunnel, in the event of a potential nodeal scenario on October 31.

It is available for single trip or annual multi-trip polices with Holiday Extras.

It comes after the company conducted a survey of 13,000 people which found more than a quarter of British people have postponed or cancelled a holiday because of the uncertainty around Brexit.

JET2 PARENT WARNS OF BREXIT UNCERTAINTY

Jet2 parent Dart Group, in a profits update, reported that they remained very cautious in their outlook due to cost pressures facing the travel industry – such as the weakness in sterling and Brexit uncertainty which is impacting consumer confidence. This came despite encouraging levels of late season bookings and increased demand post-Thomas Cook failure.

POLITICS

Key players in the Brexit drama – Leo Varadkar, the Prime Minister of Ireland and Boris Johnson, the UK’s Prime Minister, entered bilateral talks on Thursday with rock bottom expectations, but the results of the talks have significantly changed Brexit dynamics this week.

How to solve the Irish border question remains the most intractable part of Brexit.

The week started with drama.

Boris Johnson and Angela Merkel talked on the telephone early on Tuesday, and breaking with protocol, Number 10 deliberately leaked the details of the discussion: Mrs Merkel had "made clear" that a deal was "overwhelmingly unlikely" and that it would require the UK leaving Northern Ireland "behind in a customs union and full alignment forever" after Brexit.

The press speculated on why Downing Street leaked the conversation, and Donald Tusk claimed later on twitter that it was because Johnson was playing a ‘stupid blame game.’

Michel Barnier the EU chief negotiator had also been very negative about Boris Johnson’s new proposals on a deal, which had suggested that

  1. Northern Ireland to follow EU regulations and laws if a backstop had to happen after the transition period
  2. Consent mechanism. The People of Northern Ireland could consent to this arrangement every 4 years
  3. Customs. Northern Ireland would stay in the UK customs territory nothing to do with the EU customs union- with supportive agreements to ease the flow of goods.

He had given a thumbs up to part one; said that they could work on part 2 but that the customs ideas was a blanket no. The EU felt that they would still be stuck on the conundrum of how to do sort out the Irish border after Brexit.

However, on Thursday, after the talks in Cheshire, the Irish and UK prime ministers declared:

“We can see our pathway to a possible deal.”

Both statesmen appeared very cheerful and optimistic, although political observers still believe a possible deal in the time frame available, is near-on impossible, given the arithmetic in the UK Parliament, they do concede there was progress this week, and they certainly agree that neither side want to be seen to be throwing in the towel.

To help this, Parliament will sit for the first time since the Falklands War on a Saturday on 19 October.

The UK Government had hoped that the UK and EU could enter ‘the tunnel’ by the end of the week, and indeed this seems to have happened. Both sides are now ‘engaged intensively.’ What this means is that it provides space to make concessions in private so that they can agree to a legal text that can be put before EU leaders when they meet on Thursday.

The Sunday Times said that: Boris Johnson is to offer EU leaders a historic grand bargain on Brexit — help deliver his new deal this week or agree a “no-deal” departure by October 31.

Monday

Queen’s speech.

Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator briefs ambassadors on progress.

Tuesday

Ministers from across the EU meet in Luxembourg. An outline of a deal must be agreed if it is to be signed off by the end of the week.

Wednesday

Macron and Merkel meet again to agree a stance.

Thursday

EU leaders begin debating approval of the deal or a delay to Brexit at the crucial European Council summit.

Friday

European Council results.

Saturday

The UK Parliament will sit. If no deal has been reached or Parliament votes it down, a law – the Benn Act compels Johnson to seek a three month delay to Brexit.

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If you have any queries or comments contact Frances Tuke; frances@wearelotus.co.uk