After 4 years of debating the Brexit result, the United Kingdom finally left the European Union at the end of January. While the issue of Brexit threw up many questions across all areas of future trading, the travel and hospitality sector has seen immediate implications for people moving between the jurisdictions.
The crippling effects of the Covid pandemic and lockdown have further muddied the waters, but the travel industry remains resolute in easing the passage for travellers when the holiday season commences.
There remains good news for all travellers in terms of healthcare, as current European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) are still valid until the date the card expires. The UK Government is rolling out a replacement scheme, the UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) for effective global cover. For full information on how Brexit will directly impact travel, visit the gov.uk website.
The F.C.O website advises that for travel to all EU member states, Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, travellers require a valid UK passport that is less than ten years old and has at least 6 months left on it on the day of travel. British tourists can also spend up to 90 days across these countries over a period of 180 days without having to obtain a visa. However, Bulgaria, Croatia and Cyprus each have separate 90-day limits over 180 days.
At the end of 2020, a principal agreement was reached for a proposed framework for a UK European Union Agreement or Treaty on Gibraltar’s relationship with the E.U. The Treaty to be negotiated will deal with maximised and unrestricted mobility of people between Gibraltar and the Schengen area. This will be managed by the introduction of a FRONTEX operation for the control of entry and exit points from the Schengen area at the Gibraltar entry points. These arrangements will initially be provided for an initial period of four years.
Greece is aiming at further strengthening the cooperation with the United Kingdom in areas of mutual interest in the post-Brexit era by continuing its bilateral consultations with the British side. In this context, initiatives have already been taken, such as the Immigration Action Plan. The Greek Government has created the website Brexit.gov.gr, which is constantly updated with information about Brexit and through which it answers questions from citizens (British and Greeks) and businesses. Between January and June 2021, there will also be a digital campaign on social media with information for British citizens in Greece.
To adequately protect the interests of citizens and economic operators, the Spanish Government has approved a law adopting contingency measures aimed at completing and implementing, at a national level, the provisions contained in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. Through this link you can find specific information for British tourists.
For those travellers who take the family pet along too, further paperwork will be required. Pet passports have changed and are no longer valid, the new rules in place involve a visit to the vet at least a month before travel to obtain an animal certificate, so these will need to be checked too.
It is also worth noting that if you are taking your mobile phone on holiday, new roaming charges will apply, so travellers will need to check with their service providers for specific information on charges.
As with all forms of travel, a valid and full insurance policy is advised.
The past 12 months has seen our industry shaken at the core but as with every crisis faced in our sector the industry working together, will innovate and facilitate a customer friendly environment to assist consumers in booking their long awaited holidays and travel to their favourite destinations.