As Brexit negotiations began in earnest this week, you’d be forgiven for thinking this is the least of this country’s challenges given the tragic events of the past month or so.
A year on from the surprise Leave referendum result, and amid fresh political upheaval in the UK, what Brexit means looks less certain than ever.
But while our attention has naturally been drawn to matters of life and death, talks that will have a profound impact on our sector have begun in Brussels.
Just consider for a moment the new areas of regulation that travel firms are having to prepare for and understand the consequences of.
The Package Travel Directive, the General Data Protection Regulation and the Payment Services Directive 2 that outlaws credit card charges – all emanate from the EU. Add to that airline GDS fees, a major issue threatening the future of many travel agencies, which is being challenged by a powerful new coalition of industry associations in the EU.
And with open skies and, as MSC Cruises pointed out last week, even maritime law dependent on cross-border agreements, the travel industry and the EU are inextricably linked.
What chance is there of Brexit secretary David Davis and his team getting round to settling how all these key issues for travel will be handled post-Brexit by the deadline of October 2018?
The mantra ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’ may have been skewered by the UK’s new political reality, but the clock is ticking and until a deal is done, travel faces an uncertain future.
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