WTM 2017: UKinbound urges referendum if Brexit talks fail

UKinbound will lobby for a second referendum if the government fails to seal a deal in the Brexit negotiations.

Mark McVay, UKinbound chairman, said: “We know that the government is working hard to secure a Brexit deal that is good for business now and in the future – and that they recognise the key priorities for the UK tourism industry.

“However, if a sensible timely deal is not able to be secured, then UKinbound urges the government to call a second referendum to ensure that UK plc does not trade economic stability for ideological expediency.”

He was speaking at the UKinbound dinner on the first day of World Travel Market London (November 6-8).

Hosted at Shakespeare’s Globe, the event was attended by the tourism minister John Glen MP and leading inbound tourism professionals.

McVay told delegates: “Despite terrible terrorism events, visitor spending is higher and we’re seeing another record year.

“When times are tough, we can deliver jobs and revenue from all corners of this ‘sceptred isle’.”

Continuing the Shakespearean theme, he said: “Tourism, like all great dramas, has its highs and lows, and not all sectors are sharing in that success.

“The weak pound is great in the short term but not in the long term, and the uncertainty of Brexit is affecting our ability to plan and recruit staff and serve customers.

“About 40% of our staff are from the EU and many are leaving.

“We need their language skills and we need common sense to prevail on the customs union and visa-free travel.”

• The minister also toured the UKinbound stand and partner exhibitors at WTM London, and is pictured (centre) with UKinbound chief executive Deirdre Wells and chairman Mark McVay.