UKinbound has become the first trade association to openly support prime minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal.
The organisation that represents nearly 400 of the UK’s top inbound tourism businesses announced its support for the Brexit withdrawal agreement and urged MPs to get behind the deal.
UKinbound chairman Mark McVay said: “The Brexit withdrawal agreement provides some reassurance for our members that progress is being made about the shape of our future relationship with the EU, which we welcome.
“However, some of the big issues that will ensure the continued success of our industry remain unanswered, such as the arrangements for migrant workers, which our industry heavily relies on, post the transition period.”
He added: “We would nonetheless urge parliamentarians to get behind this deal, as a no-deal Brexit would have disastrous consequences for our industry.
“Until a deal is confirmed, businesses need to continue preparing for all eventualities.”
His comments follow the advice from Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer, who asked members to continue with contingency planning in order to make sure they are prepared, whatever the Brexit scenario.
The move by UKinbound came as the CBI, the UK’s biggest business lobby group, threw its weight behind the document.
CBI president John Allan is expected to urge parliament to endorse the deal at the group’s annual conference in London today (November 19) in an attempt to protect business from the “wrecking ball” of leaving the European Union without an agreement.
May is due to address the CBI event today as she tries to rally support for her divorce agreement with the EU before MPs vote on it. Concern over her premiership hit the pound last week as a series of ministers resigned.
Allan will argue that the deal respects the result of the 2016 European referendum and minimises potential economic damage, noting that it unlocks a transition period, effectively freezing the present terms of trade until at least December 2020, The Times reported.
The mere threat of a no-deal Brexit has already unleashed “turmoil” in the UK economy, he will claim.
“Eighty per cent of firms have already cut or postponed investment because of the risk of a no-deal exit. So our message to the politicians is this: listen to the businesses in your constituencies – and everyone who depends upon them,” he said.
Meanwhile, speculation continues over whether the number of Conservative MPs submitting letters of no-confidence in May will reach the 48 required to trigger a confidence vote on her leadership.
May, who will join Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in addressing business leaders, will tell the conference that her plan will provide a fair immigration system that will help young people in the UK get jobs and training.
She is expected to say: “It will no longer be the case that EU nationals, regardless of the skills or experience they have to offer, can jump the queue ahead of engineers from Sydney or software developers from Delhi.
“Instead of a system based on where a person is from, we will have one that is built around the talents and skills a person has to offer.”
She will also reiterate that she is not willing to reopen discussions with Brussels over the withdrawal agreement, saying “the core elements of that deal are already in place”.
May is due to say that she expects to hammer out a framework for a future trade relationship in Brussels this week, before signing off the deal at a summit on Sunday.