UK ABTA calls for action on post-Brexit Tourism Worker Mobility


ABTA, the leading association of travel agents and tour operators in UK, has written to Lord David Frost, Minister of State highlighting the need for a travel industry roadmap in the UK’s post-Brexit relationships with the EU.

The letter raises the very serious challenges relating to labour mobility owing to restrictions on temporary entry of tourism workers across the EU and continued access to essential health data.

ABTA says there is a pressing need to regain access to important health data lost after Brexit.

ABTA highlights the loss the Posted Workers Directive as a major concern.

In normal circumstances pre-Covid, this enabled the posting of around 15,000-20,000 UK workers each year into the EU.

ABTA says it has been advised that it would be up to each Member State to adopt rules that are more permissive for UK nationals.

However, the association is keen to highlight that a partial solution to the problem can be found by adapting an existing part of the UK immigration system.

The UK already operates a reciprocal Youth Mobility Scheme (Tier 5 visas) covering several countries and ABTA wants Government to proactively extend the Youth Mobility Scheme to EU countries.

Within the UK-EU Agreement there are also several individual reservations which restrict the rights of UK nationals to perform certain roles in different Member States.

One important example for outbound travel affects the ability of UK nationals to provide guiding services to tours in France, where the profession requires nationality of an EU Member State.

There are also several other national exemptions for both tour hosts and tour guides.

Luke Petherbridge ABTA Director of Public Affairs said: “The ability for workers to travel freely within the EU is particularly important for the travel industry and the Government must work to ensure that as far as is possible there are mutually beneficial reciprocal arrangements in place to facilitate tourism.”

“We need to create the conditions that allow the industry to flourish in the future.”

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