UK tourism jobs will be at risk if the UK votes to leave the European Union in the June 23 referendum, the boss of a leading domestic operator claims.
Allan Lambert, managing director of Exeter-based Blue Chip Holidays, has voiced his concern over the effect Brexit would have on the inbound travel market, the economy and ultimately jobs in the tourism sector.
A British exit from Europe would be followed by new travel regulations for foreign travellers entering the country, which could have a huge impact on those outside of the UK choosing to take a holiday in Britain, he says.
“For many holiday makers Britain is attractive because it is part of the EU, which enables them to make the most of a European tour,” Lambert said.
“There is a danger that these tourists will be put off if Britain has different travel and trading arrangements with countries such as France, Germany, Holland and Spain.
“We have no doubt that tourism will continue to grow if we keep the status quo and holidaymakers know what they are getting when they come to Britain.”
Inbound travellers made up 5% of Blue Chip Holidays’ customer base last year – large enough to have an impact on the business should the UK vote in favour of Brexit.
Lambert added: “If there were fewer foreign visitors to hot spots such as Devon and Cornwall, holiday companies that rely on European travellers may see a detrimental impact on their business should Britain vote to leave the EU, meaning that jobs in the tourism sector will be put at risk.”
He raised his concerns in the wake of research by Travelzoo and Bournemouth University which yesterday suggested that a Brexit vote could cost the UK tourism industry more than £4 billion a year in international tourist spending.