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ABTA sets out travel priorities for Brexit negotiations

Making a Success of Brexit for Travel and Tourism report outlines priorities for UK travellers and travel industry

Pictured: One of ABTA's key priorities is to keep visa-free travel between the UK and the EU

Following the triggering of Article 50, ABTA - the Travel Association, has set out its priorities for the Brexit negotiations.

Its new report “Making a Success of Brexit for Travel and Tourism” outlines the priorities and opportunities for the travel industry and UK travellers that ABTA is asking the Government to focus on as formal negotiations begin.

In particular, ABTA is calling on the Government to focus on five central points during the negotiations:
1.      Maintain our ability to travel freely within Europe and beyond
2.      Keep visa-free travel between the UK and the EU
3.      Protect valuable consumer rights
4.      Give UK businesses operational stability
5.      Seize opportunities for growth
Mark Tanzer, ABTA chief executive, said: “As the UK begins to extricate itself from the European Union, we want to work with the Government to help them make Brexit a success.

“We believe that the benefits such as visa-free travel and the EHIC card should be prioritised and protected. The Government must also make sure transition agreements are in place if needed. Travel and tourism is one of the UK’s largest industries and it is vital that the Government makes sure it can continue to thrive during and after the negotiations.”

The UK’s membership of the EU has given travellers many highly beneficial rights and protections, including visa-free travel and access to free or reduced cost healthcare via the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which was used more than 215,000 times in 2015 by UK citizens. Compensation for delayed and cancelled flights and the EU Package Travel Directive, which protects people on package holidays, are also valuable consumer rights, which ABTA urges the Government to protect.

Safeguarding transport links, including air routes is vital, as the EU is the UK’s biggest market for overseas holidays and a critical market for businesses. Unlike for other industries, there are no World Trade Organisation rules for aviation to fall back on if the UK does not reach a deal with the EU.

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