Email the editor

Travel firms fear post-Brexit exodus of EU workers

World Travel Market research also predicts price hikes post-Brexit

About two in five UK-based holiday companies expect Brexit will have an impact on their ability to recruit staff from overseas, according to research by World Travel Market London.

A travel trade survey found that just over 40 per cent of UK firms who employ foreign workers anticipate that recruitment will be affected when the UK leaves the European Union.

The World Travel Market London 2017 Industry Report also found that more than half (53 per cent) of all respondents believe Brexit has already had a negative impact on the UK’s reputation as a holiday destination while 16 per cent anticipate they will have to increase prices because of Brexit.

The findings reflect those in other recent trade surveys, such as UKinbound’s poll of its members, who are tour operators and attractions catering for tourists visiting the UK.

Some UKinbound members reported that more than 20 per cent of their EU national employees have already left the UK “because of the long-term uncertainty over their status”, and almost 50 per cent of respondents are having difficulties recruiting EU staff because of Brexit.

ETOA, the European tourism organisation, surveyed its members about EU staff and found that about 20 per cent of companies are “actively contemplating” relocation because of the problems of Brexit.

Research for the British Hospitality Association warned there could be a shortfall of up one million workers after 10 years if EU migration is curtailed completely.

The trade associations highlighted how crucial EU workers are to UK firms, especially because of their language and service skills – and warned there are not enough Brits with the right expertise who can fill the gap.

The WTM London researchers also quizzed UK consumers about their holiday habits and found that 83% of respondents said Brexit did not affect their choice of destination this year.

A similar proportion (81 per cent) said they had not felt unpopular as a Brit abroad this year, following the referendum vote in 2016 – but 11 per cent said they had.

Three quarters (74 per cent) are concerned about the future impact that Brexit will have on their holidays, with rising costs cited as the main worry.

Just under half (46 per cent) think Brexit will have no impact on their holiday choices next year, but 28 per cent said it will have ‘some impact’ and 11 per cent feel there will be a ‘significant’ impact on where they take their holiday.

World Travel Market London’s Paul Nelson, said: “Brexit is already having a profound impact on the travel industry – the fall in sterling since the referendum has been one very visible consequence, but the ramifications of the vote go much deeper.

“Our programme at this year’s WTM London will help delegates understand the implications more clearly – for example, our World Travel Leaders and aviation sessions will discuss the impact of Brexit, and our Leaders’ Lunch will feature the European Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator, Guy Verhofstadt.”

For the industry report, there were 1,622 respondents, drawn from the trade around the world. For the consumer report, there were 1,025 respondents, who were representative of the UK population, and who had taken at least one holiday this year.

Facebook Share Twitter Share LinkeIn Share