Travel jobs at risk post Brexit

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The UK’s decision to leave the EU will put 25,000 UK travel industry jobs at risk, as increased costs will force companies to downsize, says Seasonal Businesses in Travel (SBIT).

SBIT’s survey of 130 companies, surveyed by independent research consultants LHM Conseil on behalf of SBIT, found that many are worried that British holiday companies will no longer be able to employ their UK staff on the continent on UK terms, meaning that instead of paying tax and National Insurance for the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) they will have to pay for more expensive continental state social insurance schemes.

These increased costs could have huge ramifications for the industry, with a 58 per cent increase in costs predicted for holiday companies. The costs could also act as a stumbling block for younger workers aiming to get into the industry, with less money available for training opportunities and fewer jobs available, especially as smaller holiday business may be forced into mergers or closure. Those aged between 18 and 24 who are already employed in the travel industry will be most likely to lose their jobs, with apprenticeships and training schemes at risk of being cut – despite the fact that three-quarters of voters in that age bracket voted to remain in the EU.

“Many independent UK holiday companies stay cost efficient and deliver great prices and service to holidaymakers by employing UK staff to work in the EU during peak times,” Katie Waddington of Zenith Holidays said. “Our membership of the EU means no visas or bureaucracy and staff taxes and NI contributions stay in the UK.”

Brexit’s effect has already been seen in the UK travel industries, with companies saying that they have sent seven per cent fewer staff to the continent after the vote.

“More than 75 per cent of the team in the London office have worked overseas and they bring their knowledge and experience back into the company,” Sarah Searson, Managing Director of Skiworld, said. “Experience in customer service, logistics and operations are key skills in a service driven economy and it will be a loss for UK PLC, let alone for the holiday industry, if we cannot continue to seamlessly second our UK staff to Europe.”