Outbound travel group demands second Brexit referendum

A travel organisation has become the latest business group to call for a people’s vote on Brexit, including an option for the UK to remain in the EU.

Seasonal Businesses in Travel (SBIT) called on all MPs to back a new vote.

The impact of losing UK workers from the seasonal travel industry and other enforced changes from leaving the EU will be a 31% increase in the cost of British package holidays to European destinations, according to a poll of operators.

The loss of such employment opportunities will disproportionately affect young adults, as 64% of the people employed within the industry are aged 18-24.

The UK seasonal travel industry employs 25,000 UK nationals every year in jobs in Europe, in roles including holiday reps, childcare, food production and transport services.

The sector claims to collectively contribute £16.5 billion annually to the UK economy from its European operations.

SBIT represents more than 220 outbound British travel and service companies.

The organisation has been calling for clarity from government over the implications Brexit would have on British workers employed in the seasonal travel industry in Europe since the June 2016 referendum on whether to leave the EU.

It argues that proposed UK withdrawal agreement does not provide the security the industry needs, as it will restrict the ability of UK companies to employ British workers in European countries.

Additionally, the abolition of free movement will prevent British staff from easily working for seasonal travel businesses across Europe.

SBIT board member Diane Palumbo, sales and marketing director of Skiworld, said: “My first job was working during a ski season, and that opportunity enabled me to develop my skills and work up to becoming a director for a major company in the seasonal travel sector.

“The government’s proposed Brexit deal would end those opportunities, which are particularly valuable for young people starting out in their careers.

“The only solution is to go back to the British people and have a people’s vote on what should happen next.”

Fellow board member Charles Owen, managing director of European Pubs, said: “British people in 2016 did not vote to make their holidays more expensive, or to limit the opportunities for their children or grandchildren to work in Europe.

“That’s what will happen if the government passes its proposed Brexit deal.

“I urge all MPs to fight instead for a people’s vote on Brexit, to protect our holidays and jobs.”

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