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Abta 18: Industry leaders dismiss fears of no-deal Brexit

Industry leaders have dismissed the threat of a “disastrous” no-deal Brexit despite the deadline for Britain’s exit from the EU approaching.

Addressing Abta’s Travel Convention in Seville, Saga Travel chief executive Robin Shaw said: “The cost of not doing a deal on both sides is too great.”

Dnata Travel Europe chief executive John Bevan agreed, saying: “The government has to get a deal, but it can’t disclose anything. It could go to the wire.”

Earlier, easyJet chief executive John Lundgren told the Convention: “I don’t think it will be disaster. I speak to everybody – to member states, to the EU – everyone wants this [a deal] to happen.

“It is inconceivable that politicians on both sides would put us [airlines] in that position [of no deal]. There will be at least basic connectivity [between the UK and EU].”

Shaw argued: “There is a negotiation going on. It’s a one off, it has never been done before and it is hugely complicated, but it is in the interests of both sides to do a deal. I think a deal will be done.”

Specialist Leisure Group chief executive Richard Calvert told the Convention: “There will be winners and losers, [and] if there is no deal we’ll be a winner and a loser.

“The majority of our business is domestic, [but] we have 1,500 colleagues from Europe working in out hotels. There is a lot of nervousness about what will happen.”

He added: “We’re concerned about what will happen at borders.”

Bevan said: “Some of our business is focussed on long-haul, but Travel Republic is predominantly short-haul, so that is a worry.

“My biggest concern is about the consumer. As we get nearer [to the deadline] more people may hold back booking and that will have an impact on our industry.”

Travel Weekly is trade media partner of The Travel Convention
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