Here at Bookings For You, we didn’t hide the fact that we were firmly in the ‘remain’ camp prior to the EU referendum. We genuinely felt (and still do feel passionately) that being in Europe is the best thing for our business, our holidaymakers and our loved ones. But the decision has been made to leave, so we thought we’d summarise what we think this means for holidaymakers in the future….
Whilst here at Bookings For You, we will do as much as we can to keep costs down for holidaymakers, there is no escaping the fact that with sterling plummeting in recent days, those visiting Europe this Summer won’t get as much for their money. Everything from your slice of pizza to your glass of vino to your holiday souvenirs will cost more. More long term, you’ll also see increases in the cost of airfares going forward. As both fuel and aircraft are priced in US dollars, as sterling drops against the USD, airlines will inevitably need to pass on their higher costs of aviation fuel and aircraft to the traveller. In the short term, those who have already booked and paid for their accommodation and flights won’t be affected by this, but for those that haven’t or for those still needing to book their car hire, you will find that costs in sterling terms have increased already.
The end to ridiculous roaming charges by mobile phone providers whilst abroad has been in the news a lot recently. The tariffs have already been substantially reduced and by June 2017, the tariffs are set to be banished once and for all. However, for those in the UK, this is no longer a certainty. The scrapping of these tariffs is a EU directive and, once out of the European Union, the British government has no obligation to proceed with this. In reality, do I think they will choose not to keep the pressure on mobile phone companies to act in the interests of the consumer? No…. But it’s not the certainty it was a week ago.
At the moment, British holidaymakers enjoy enormous peace of mind through the reciprocal health agreements that European countries have in place. Every year, Bookings For You unfortunately always have a handful of clients who need to visit a hospital during their stay. Needing to visit a doctor in a foreign country is inevitably stressful but this stress is minimised with the knowledge that, by carrying the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) we are entitled to free or reduced cost treatment in other European countries. Going forward, once we are no longer a member of the EU, who knows what alternative arrangements will be in place for those needing medical treatment abroad. However, being optimistic, we would hope that the UK government will put in place a bilateral agreement with EU countries similar to those which we already have in place with a number of countries outside the EU. After all, if not, we’re going to inevitably see an increase in our travel insurance premiums.
Package Holiday Protection
Whilst Bookings For You are not a package holiday provider, we recognise that millions choose a package holiday provider each year. Current EU directives provide enormous levels of protection to those booking a package holiday, protecting their money if the company goes bust before their holiday and committing to bring holidaymakers home if the company goes bust during their trip. Moreover, the EU has increased cover in place planned to come into effect in 2018 which will only serve to increase the levels of protection. Who knows what the future holds, but it now seems unlikely that this new directive will apply to British holidaymakers, giving them less protection than they would have had if we had remained in the EU.
Compensation for delayed and cancelled flights
The EU doesn’t only provide protection for those booking package holidays, it also provides protection for those caught up in flight delays or cancellations, providing generous levels of compensation for consumers. This currently applies to all airlines that fly in or out of the EU, but as we exit the union, it is unknown whether the UK will still be able to make claims against the airlines and whether it will be as easy as process as it is today.
Changes to passports
Contrary to what many people think, the current UK passport is a British passport. Whilst it may be EU branded, it is a British passport and this won’t change. All that will happen is that, on formally leaving the EU, we’ll inevitably see a re-branding exercise take place.
I’ve heard reports of people claiming that in the future British holidaymakers will need visas in order to enter the UK. But, here at Bookings For You, we just can’t see that happening. Britain operates a massive tourism deficit. In other words, British holidaymakers spend far more abroad than foreign tourists spend in the UK. It seems highly unlikely that the remaining EU countries will make it difficult for British tourists to continue to enjoy their holidays with them.
So, all in all, we continue to feel that the negatives of leaving outweigh any positive benefit. In fact, the only benefit we could see was possible improvements in duty free! However, please don’t let that put you off travelling. In uncertain times, if you can afford to book some time away, we still believe that holidays are great ways to create lasting and permanent happy memories with loved ones. And there is no better place to visit than Italy. Italians always provide a warm welcome.