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Thursday July 4, 2019 - Email this article to a friend

They're stepping up the lobbying of UK & European governments in the event of a 'no deal'. PlanetSKI reports.

The news comes as the travel association ABTA warns companies to be prepared as the likelihood of the UK leaving the European Union without a deal increases.

ABTA says it is taking its lead from the UK government which has been ramping up its own planning for a ‘no deal' Brexit.

A spokesman told PlanetSKI they are not being alarmist but the prospect of a no deal is looking more likely as time goes on.

The UK was due to leave the EU on 29th March this year but the deadline has been extended to 31st October.

ABTA says the government must ensure that, after Brexit, there is a system where travel companies can continue to post workers abroad and that there is a ‘suitable approach to freedom of movement' so the industry can recruit the staff it needs.

It's calling on the government and its EU counterparts to agree reciprocal labour rules for seasonal workers, such as ski chalet hosts and tour company reps.

British ski tour operators have told PlanetSKI they are streamlining their operations for next winter.

The UK's largest independent ski specialist, Skiworld, says it is reducing the number of its in-resort reps by around 30%.

It is also favouring applications for its seasonal ski chalet jobs from passport-holders from countries that remain in the EU, such as Ireland.

Skiworld seasonal workersSkiworld seasonaires














Skiworld currently has 90 to 100 catered chalets, mainly in France and Austria.

The company's Sales and Marketing Director, Diane Palumbo, says they are trying to minimise costs but, like other chalet firms, are having to cut back.

"Amongst the top four catered chalet operators, chalet beds are projected to be down next season by 38% compared to the figure in April 2016," she says.


BrexitDivorce deadline - 31st October

Zenith Holidays is another making changes for next winter.

"We have reduced our catered chalet offering for next season and we are offering more self-catered options as well as the hotels we have always featured," Katie Waddington tells PlanetSKI.

"People are concerned as to what the chalet options will be if, on 1st November, we find ourselves with a no deal scenario and as a result we are seeing more enquiries and bookings into the self-catered options.

"We are continuing to work with a number of companies who offer meal deliveries to apartments and chalets."

Zenith chaletZenith Holidays chalet
















Skiworld's Diane Palumbo is also a spokesperson for Seasonal Businesses in Travel (SBIT), which is made up of 280 companies involved in both the winter and summer travel industry.

She says the organisation is working hard on behalf on the industry and clients.

"SBIT is lobbying the UK, French and Austrian governments to secure the kind of reciprocal arrangements that ABTA refers to," she says.

"We desperately want to preserve the opportunities that many of us have had to work in Europe and gain valuable experience and skills in our industry.

"This experience forms the bedrock of many successful travel companies - our sales teams speak from direct personal experience and our operations teams know how to run the resorts/destinations they all worked in."

Ski seasonairesSeasonal ski workers













"A no-deal scenario directly affects the career and training opportunities for 18 to 25 year olds who are the backbone of our workforce both overseas and in the UK," Diane added.

"In total this is around 25,000 jobs that could be affected in our sectors.

"It is also regrettable that with a no-deal scenario the social security contributions of all those young people who succeed in getting visas to work in Europe will now not go to the UK exchequer."

ABTA says it's vital arrangements are put in place to protect businesses.

"The immigration arrangements between the UK and the EU after Brexit will be reciprocal by nature, so it is important the UK Government offers a framework which supports businesses operating at home and abroad, Luke Peterbridge, Head of Public Affairs at ABTA, said.

Luke PetherbridgeLuke Petherbridge

















"If the Government creates a regime that is too narrow, and restrictive, this will have operational consequences for UK businesses that rely on the ability to send staff across Europe, and will also reduce the ability of those businesses to attract the best range of talent including staff from overseas.

"The ability to deploy staff flexibly within the EU has been a critical component of the success of the UK travel industry.

"As the UK departs the EU, there needs to be a regime - or multiple regimes - that replace the combined role of freedom of movement, and the Posted Workers Directive, enabling temporary EU-based employment for critical UK travel workers."

The Chief Executive of ABTA, Mark Tanzer, said it was time for travel businesses to be very clear with the government about what they needed to ensure the industry could continue to grow and thrive.

Mark Tanzer, CEO of ABTAMark Tanzer at the ABTA Travel Matters conference












"It is important the Government truly understands the UK travel and tourism labour market in order to ensure it develops the right long-term approach to immigration and skills development," he said.

There has been a lot of reaction to this article on social media.

Here are just some of the comments from the PlanetSKI Facebook page:

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And there was this response on Twitter from the Travel Editor of the Financial Times:

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