A Brexit deal will make a difference to travel businesses, but an acrimonious break-up will be worse than an agreement on no deal.
That is the view of Deloitte partner David Gard who said: “The nature of the relationship [between the EU and UK] is going to be fundamental.”
Speaking at a Travel Weekly Insight Report launch event, Gard said: “My major concern is the nature of the relationships the lack of an agreement causes.
“The major risk if we pull out of Europe with a non-agreed position is it runs the risk of an inability to negotiate in the future.
“If we thoroughly upset each other in this process it sets up a nasty dynamic. If both sides agree amicably that we leave without an agreement, we have an ability to deal with aspects going forward.”
Alan Bowen, legal advisor to the Association of Atol Companies, warned: “For heaven’s sake, don’t book anybody’s travel for January 1 because it is going to be complicated.
“We’ve got to see some coordination across destinations and departure points on what is going to be required to travel. There is no evidence of that yet in many countries.”
Ami Naru, partner and head of employment at Travlaw, highlighted the importance of the EU Posted Workers’ Directive for firms sending employees overseas, saying: “It gives a minimum floor for employment rights when you post a worker from the UK to an EU member state.
“But if it falls away, I don’t think employers will say, ‘You have been paid X euros per hour, but we’re going to bring that down’. Employers want the right people to do the job.
“The problem is there are going to be more costs and complexities getting staff into European resorts.
“They’re going to have to comply with local entry requirements. You will need to be familiar with those in each country, which an additional cost because you will need to pay for advice.
“You will have visa requirements or you’re going to have to recruit locally, which is an administrative burden.
“Either way it’s going to be more complicated and it’s going to be more costly to send staff into EU member states.”
Chris Photi, head of travel and leisure at White Hart Associates, told the event: “Are you going to be required to register for VAT in each destination. That sting in the tail may come.
“Cross-border selling around the EU concerns me. Companies which sell into European markets have not addressed this as quickly as they should. People are coming to this at the last minute.”
Watch the full launch event and download the Travel Weekly Insight Annual Report for FREE at travelweeklyinsight.co.uk.