THE LOTUS WEEKLY BREXIT ROUND-UP
Boris Bounce for Travel Sector
Last week, travel brands across the sectors welcomed the greater consumer confidence and a strengthening in sterling after the election, which has led to a healthy start to booking in 2020.
Celebrity Cruises, Bruce Poon-Tip from G Adventures, Sandals and Beaches all reported positive results in the travel trade press, whilst Ben Clatworthy from The Times ran a news piece on Saturday reporting on how luxury travel operators were experiencing a ‘huge surge in holiday bookings since the landslide Conservative win in December.’
Ampersand Travel, Scott Dunn and Abercrombie & Kent were all featured in the article’s piece as having had significant jump in bookings compared to January 2019.
Holidaymakers to benefit from Strong Sterling says Post Office
Research by Post Office Travel Money found 85% of the Post Office’s 40 top-selling currencies were weaker against sterling at the start of 2020 than a year ago.
Only six – the Russian ruble, Egyptian pound, Thai baht, Costa Rican colon, Canadian dollar and Indonesian rupiah – were stronger.
Moreover, prices are lower than a year ago in 33 of 42 destinations surveyed and have fallen by 10% in 11 of these places.
Abta updates Brexit travel guidance ahead of transition period
Meanwhile, Abta updated its advice on how Brexit will affect holidaymakers as the UK prepares to leave the EU at the end of the month as traffic to its ‘Brexit advice for travellers’ website page had risen by nearly 400% since the election.
Abta research shows that nearly one-third of Britons (31%) remain unsure about how Brexit will affect their travel plans.
The advice, aimed to reassure travellers and said: “The country is set to enter a “transition period” after 31 January until the end of 2020 when EU rules and regulations will continue to apply in the UK.
During this period, all travel requirements and arrangements will remain the same for UK visitors to the 27 EU states, including passport rules and having access to the same border gates as they do now.
Mark Tanzer, Abta’s chief executive, said: “The UK is primed to enter a new Brexit phase from 31 January, when trade talks begin, and when it does nothing will change when it comes to travel.”
Last week also saw rows erupt over the UK’s Government’s plans to assist financially troubled airline Flybe.
EasyJet and Ryanair have joined British Airways owner IAG in voicing opposition to the government’s proposed bailout of troubled Flybe.
All are attacking the plan to defer some of Flybe’s Air Passenger Duty payments, worth more than £100 million.
Ministers had agreed to work with Flybe to figure out a repayment plan for a significant tax debt that is thought to top £100m.
Meanwhile, the firm's owners have agreed to pump more money into the loss-making airline.
Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said the deal would keep the company operating.
The government also pledged to review domestic APD for all airlines with the objective of improving
regional connections without breaching climate targets.
The UK has to follow EU rules on state aid after Brexit at least until the end of the year.
Withdrawal Bill goes to The Lords
The Withdrawal Bill goes to the House of Lords today. The Upper House may yet take the opportunity to press to the vote amendments on issues pertaining to child refugees and the length of the transition period - which, if passed, would be subject to further debate by MPs on Wednesday.
At 10pm tonight MPs will vote to approve the Government’s legislative agenda as set out in the Queen’s Speech one month ago yesterday.
UK-Africa Investment Summit
Today Boris Johnson is hosting the UK-Africa Investment Summit in London,
The Times believes that Westminster’s obsession with the Brexit Day bongs – and the payment for celebrating ‘Brexit’ Day with Big Ben’s bongs on 31 January - is a metaphor for the state of general political debate over Brexit as there is precious little talk in Westminster about what happens with EU negotiations from 1 February.
The Times believe Boris Johnson is nervous that the population will take it badly when they discover what a rocky ride 2020 will be and is doing everything it can to shut down coverage and debate. And there has been hardly a murmur of opposition.
No alignment with the EU over laws says Chancellor
In an interview with the Financial Times on Friday, Chancellor Sajid Javid said that there will not be alignment with the EU over laws. ‘We will not be in the single market, and we will not be in the customs union and we will do this by the end of the year.”
His remarks will be seen as confirmation of a strategic departure from Theresa May’s deal in which she envisaged close alignment with the EU, in an effort to reduce friction at the border for traders, said the Guardian.
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said alignment supported jobs and competitiveness for many firms. The group’s director general, Carolyn Fairbairn, said business “recognises there are areas where the UK can benefit from its future right to diverge from EU regulation” but urged government “not to treat this right as an obligation to diverge”.