Maintaining ease of movement for people to work and visit the UK, and for UK citizens to access Europe is key to keeping the travel and tourism industry buoyant post-Brexit, warns The Guild of Travel and Tourism Chief Executive.

The Guild of Travel and Tourism has been bringing together key operators in the travel and tourism industry since it was founded, in 1994. The industry trade association has an international reach with members from the UK, Norway, Romania and Tunisia; and memberships continue to grow. 

Members join an active community that connects through special networking events. The Guild also facilities new business opportunities for members, organisations and entrepreneurs; and offers industry training and representation.  

The team of four, part-time employees work from their office in Mayfair. The Guild of Travel and Tourism Chief Executive Nigel Bishop is also Chairman of London Chamber of Transport Committee, and is concerned that there is a general lack of understanding from Government of the urgency of planning for Brexit. 

Government doesn’t seem to understand that important business decisions cannot wait.

Within the hospitality and restaurant trades, businesses are having difficulty finding staff, and according to Nigel, “one has delayed opening as they couldn’t get the right chef.” The challenge for travel and tourism surrounding Brexit is sourcing skilled, polyglot staff, as Nigel explains, it’s “getting the right people here, and stopping them leaving”.

Nigel would like clarity on hiring staff from the EU. The worst possible outcome would be a visa requirement for European travel, but he remains confident that wouldn’t happen.

Airport capacity and the decision on an additional runway at Heathrow is another pressing issue, however, Nigel’s main concern on transport is freight. “The big concern, post-Brexit is about crossing the Channel Tunnel and the just-in-time delivery of food and car parts”. 

While the outcome of the new Customs Union arrangement doesn’t directly impact the travel and tourism industry, Nigel share’s the view that a newly negotiated Customs arrangement, that maintains the ease of movement of goods and people would be preferable:

“There is little evidence that getting into new markets will offset coming out of the Customs Union, and there are all sorts of problems with coming out. From a trading and ease of trade point of view, if that goes wrong we have got problems. The government doesn’t get the urgency”.