School Travel -Brexit Update

Euro flag

The government’s White Paper, the so-called Chequers agreement, recently set out the UK’s negotiating stance for Brexit over the coming months.

Many of the main priorities essential to preserve a successful tourism industry - such as maintaining open skies access, remaining part of EASA, ensuring visa-free travel, and keeping the EHIC system – are featured in the White Paper. This is very encouraging and shows the Government recognises the value and contributions of the travel industry.

In particular, the Government is seeking:

  • To maintain reciprocal liberalised aviation access (open skies), cooperation on air traffic management and participation in European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The government also intends to keep liberalised arrangements across other transport modes.
  • Visa-free travel for leisure and short-term business trips but does acknowledge this could include reciprocal use of electronic authorisation systems (ETIAS), as part of efforts to streamline border processes.
  • Retention of the EHIC – and references this clearly as retention rather than replacement by an equivalent regime.
  • An agreement to have reciprocal continuing high levels of consumer protection, underpinned by joint mechanisms for dispute resolution and information exchange.

Negotiations around this are expected to continue and an agreement is being sought before the end of the year. An agreement would ensure a transition period, starting on March 30th, 2019 and lasting until December 31st, 2020, where current laws and systems remain unchanged.

The government has commenced the issue of “technical notices” about what needs to be done in the event of a “no-deal” Brexit. These will give advice on a range of issues and will set out what preparation is needed, should the talks fail to achieve an agreement. Some of these will relate to the travel industry, and we are expecting the notices to cover areas such as aviation, borders and consumer rights.

We are members of the STF and ABTA and are pleased that those organisations continue to work together and with politicians in Westminster and Europe to advocate a resolution that preserves the structures and rights that have enabled tourism to flourish. In addition, ABTA is carrying out contingency planning in parallel to this, so they can highlight to Members and customers some of the issues they need to think about in connection with a possible ‘no deal’ exit.

Further & Higher Travel

September 2018

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