Unusually for this time of year, Parliamentary business has been full. To open the new session, the Queen’s Speech set out the Government’s priorities. Emboldened by the large Conservative majority, the Prime Minister also amended the Withdrawal Agreement Bill which was passed for the second time by a majority of 120.

Changes included legally prohibiting the Government extending the Implementation Period beyond December 31st 2020.

Travel trade welcomes political certainty for peaks period

Travel Weekly has reported that the clear election result has had a positive impact on travel trade sentiment and businesses are preparing for a busy peaks period after months of pent-up demand.

Kuoni UK, Cosmos, Travelzoo and the The Travel Network Group all reported on a lift in consumer confidence, but a note of caution was struck for later in 2020 when the deadline for the transitional agreement expires.

2020 set to be record tourism year for UK

Similarly, the outlook for the UK inbound industry for 2020 is being forecast as a record year.

Spending by overseas visitors is predicted by VistBritain to rise by 6.6% to reach a record £26.6 billion next year against £25 billion projected for 2019.

Data from ForwardKeys shows that forward flight bookings to the UK from December 2019 to May 2020 are up 5% compared to the same period last year. Forward bookings to the UK from China and South Asia are particularly strong, up 33% and 22% respectively.

The national tourism agency is also working with the tourism industry to inform European visitors about the practicalities of travel and to encourage visits post-Brexit.

Government’s policy agenda and impacts on the travel industry: Queen’s Speech

Travel Weekly reported on the Queen’s speech and which proposed bills are likely to impact on the travel industry.

  • Brexit

The stated priority for the government is to deliver Brexit on January 31.

Out of 30 bills outlined, seven were devoted to Brexit. These covered immigration, trade, agriculture, fisheries, financial services and private international law.

But the first bill put to Parliament was the Withdrawal Agreement Bill on Friday 20 December.

  • Airline insolvency

New airline insolvency legislation will aim to “protect passengers in the event of an airline going bust by reforming the airline insolvency process”.

The planned law would introduce a repatriation ‘toolkit’ of mechanisms for companies and passengers, including making it easier for the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to grant a Temporary Airline Operating Licence so that an airline can continue repatriating passengers following insolvency.

  • Immigration

The EU withdrawal bill proposes an Australian-style points-based immigration system that would end free movement in UK law.

From 2021, EU citizens arriving in the UK will be subject to the same immigration controls as non-EU citizens.

  • Thomas Cook compensation

The government will pass new legislation to compensate Thomas Cook customers making personal injury claims.

  • Business rate cuts

The government said it is “committed to increasing the retail discount from one-third to 50%”.

It plans to bring forward the next business rates revaluation by one year from 2022 to 2021 and move business rates revaluations from a five-yearly cycle to a three-yearly cycle.

  • Drones

Police will be given new powers to tackle the “unlawful use” of drones in an Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill.

Heathrow Airport

The Civil Aviation Authority has issued a new consultation into the early costs of expansion with responses required by February 28.

In an investor report published last week, the airport said: “Overall, the general election result is positive for Heathrow.

“The business will now get certainty on Brexit and the Conservative’s manifesto confirmed the new government’s support for expansion, subject to meeting environmental concerns.

“We remain confident that Brexit will not have a material impact on Heathrow airport even if the UK were to exit the EU without a deal,” the report said.


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