Following the UK officially leaving the EU, World Travel Market has issued expert advice to bust the myths once-and-for-all about the future of travel in Europe.
The UK is currently in a transition period, but there is still confusion around what Brexit means for travelers. More than two thirds of UK adults (68%) admit they are not completely sure what changes will take place for travel to EU countries from February onward, according to recent figures. *
WTM senior director Simon Press said: “There appears to be a certain amount of ‘Brexit perplexity’ across the UK when it comes to changes in travel requirements to EU countries.
He says: “As of February 1, when the British Government began negotiating the conditions of the UK’s exit from the EU, there will be no changes to current travel arrangements until December 31 2020 at the earliest.
“Research shows a quarter of people have delayed making decisions about their 2020 holiday plans until after January 31, with almost half saying they need more reassurance about what travel to the EU will be like for the rest of this year. It’s time to bust the myths around post-Brexit travel.”
- While the UK is in a transition period, there will be no change in travel to EU destinations. UK travellers can continue to travel as they do now until at least the end of December 2020. “Planes are still going to fly, trains will still go on the rails, ferries, ships and boats will all dock at ports, and coaches will operate as normal,” says Simon Press.
- Current passports can still be used, even those that expire within six months. But passports must be valid for the whole of the trip.
- Drivers with a full UK licence do not need any additional documents such as International Driving Permit. Nor do they need a green GB sticker or a Green Card for car insurance.
- Under EU rules, mobile roaming costs stay the same during the transition period.
- Pets with passports – the list includes ferrets as well as dogs and cats – can still travel during the transition period. New pet passport applications can be made at authorised vet practices.
- The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which allows any EU citizen to access state medical care when they are travelling in another EU country, is still valid for UK travellers throughout 2020. However, EHIC has always had limitations, which is why taking out travel insurance at the time of booking the trip is a must.
- Brexit-specific insurance is not necessary, but the correct insurance is a must – covering individual medical conditions and planned activities. Buying insurance at the same time as booking the holiday provides cover from day one, such as cancellation in case of illness.
- Package holidays provided by an ATOL-bonded company provide the best cover in case of providers going bust or other reasons the holiday may not go ahead. But it’s also possible to buy insurance for DIY packages to cover such eventualities. Read the small print carefully, as cover varies.
Post 2020: WTM’s stance
WTM strongly believes Europe will continue to be the key number-one overseas destination for UK travellers – with over 58 million trips abroad each year (according to ABTA’s latest statistics).
Furthermore, the World Travel & Tourism Council says that, by 2029, travel and tourism will account for 154,060,000 jobs directly. That is an increase of 2.1% a year over the next 10 years.
Simon Press concludes: “There’s much to iron out during the transition period, but we all know how much Brits love their holidays and this will not change. Brits are travelling more, both at home and abroad, so the domestic market is benefiting too.
“Favorable sterling rates mean the UK is an affordable destination for overseas visitors, which is great for our economy.
“Over the three days of WTM London 2019, 50,000 of the world’s most senior travel and tourism professionals came to ExCel, London, to take part in 1.2 million pre-arranged meetings, generating over £3.71 billion of business deals.
“Post-Brexit WTM London will continue be the place where the world’s travel and tourism industry will meet to make decisions on those must-visit destinations that appear in the latest travel brochures, websites and high-street travel agency windows, enticing people to go on holiday.
“What will happen after December 31 2020 will be unveiled in the coming months. Rest assured, our network of experts from all industry sectors will be at WTM London 2020 in November to share the latest developments. The key message right now is that it’s business as usual.”
*Report by Discover Ferries, an industry body representing 13 ferry operators in the UK, British Isles and Ireland operating more than 80 routes.