More than 700,000 jobs in the travel and tourism sector could be lost over a decade in the event of a no-deal Brexit, carving an £18.6 billion hole in Britain’s GDP, a trade body has warned.
Some 308,000 UK-based roles and a further 399,000 in European Union states would be at risk if Britain left without a Withdrawal Agreement, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.
Its analysis looked at how a no-deal departure on March 29 might affect the tourism sector over the next 10 years. It is based on an International Monetary Fund (IMF) analysis which forecasts a 7.7% decline in economic activity across the UK economy as a whole.
It is now clear that a no-deal Brexit would have a dramatic impact on one the UK’s most important economic sectors
Gloria Guevara, the president and chief executive of the WTTC, whose members include chief executives from around the world, said: “The UK is the fifth largest travel and tourism economy in the world.
“Given its importance to the UK economy it is now clear that a no-deal Brexit would have a dramatic impact on one the UK’s most important economic sectors.
“If the IMF prediction on the wider economy is realised, there would be a total cost across Europe of over £40 billion and over 700,000 jobs, in our projections.
“Our members are already seeing an impact on their businesses and workforce.”
The WTTC, whose chairman is Christopher Nassetta, the chief executive of the Hilton hotel chain, said four areas were crucial to avoid a hit on jobs.
– Continued UK access to the Single Aviation Market
– Maintaining visa-free travel between the UK and EU
– Ensure that “mobility of labour” for travel and tourism workers continues
– Ensure security co-operation to avoid “hard border checks and lengthy delays”