NEWS RELEASE – 10 December 2020: The UK government and the EU must quickly reach an agreement on Brexit to save and secure thousands of jobs, says the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).
WTTC, which represents the global tourism private sector, has urged the two sides to come together to find a way to reach a consensus on a post-Brexit trade deal as talks enter their final stages.
The plea comes as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will meet in Brussels with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to try to break the blockade.
WTTC says tourism businesses in the UK and across Europe could be at risk, putting thousands of businesses and the jobs of those who depend on them at risk if there is no way out.
400.000 jobs inside the EU at risk
Before the outbreak of the pandemic, WTTC had warned that 300.000 tourist jobs in the UK and nearly 400.000 in the EU could be at risk if the UK were to leave without a deal.
Without a no-deal Brexit, access to markets and the ability of business and leisure travelers to move freely between the UK and the EU could be lost, leading to complexity, cost and confusion. It will seriously hinder seamless travel.
Flight connectivity is a major issue – The UK-EU deal needed to replace the comprehensive air transport agreement should ensure UK airlines retain access to 27 EU states and 17 other countries. The agreement expires on December 31.
While emergency measures are expected to allow flights until a long-term deal can be reached, WTTC fears airlines could suffer economic damage if a no-deal Brexit comes.
Tourism sector is under pressure
Those already dependent on traffic with Europe are under tremendous pressure from the impact of coronavirus travel restrictions, along with thousands of companies in the tourism sector.
Gloria Guevara, WTTC president, said: “We urge the UK government and the EU to put the interests of the tourism industry, as well as the livelihoods of millions of people who depend on it, first when considering the implications of a no deal.
“This has been an incredibly difficult year for the entire global tourism industry, decimating many businesses and putting millions of jobs at risk.
“WTTC fears that failure to reach a Brexit trade deal could exacerbate the already difficult situation and further disrupt the tourism industry, both here in the UK and across Europe.”