Abta has welcomed London mayor Sadiq Khan’s suggestion that it should be easier for young workers to move between the UK and EU countries.
Khan (pictured) told the Observer that a youth mobility scheme should be agreed with EU countries or changes should be made to post-Brexit visa rules that currently restrict travel and the ability to work in other European nations.
Backing Khan’s comments, Abta said it had been lobbying for some time on youth mobility with a view to helping both the inbound and outbound tourism sectors.
Luke Petherbridge, director of public affairs at Abta, said: “We’re pleased to see a high-profile political figure like Sadiq Khan back the industry’s long-standing calls for youth mobility agreements with EU countries.”
The number of UK workers in tourism roles across the EU has fallen by nearly 70% since the end of the Brexit transition period, Abta said.
The association has discussed youth mobility and education at a number of events in recent weeks.
Last week, Petherbridge spoke at a roundtable event with shadow tourism minister Barbara Keeley.
He has also spoken to the Labour spokesperson for education in the Lords, Baroness Twycross, and shadow immigration minister Stephen Kinnock.
Liberal Democrat MPs Wera Hobhouse and Jamie Stone have been described as “receptive” to Abta’s views. Hobhouse’s brief is energy, climate change and transport, while Stone’s is tourism.
Abta said it would continue to push the issue over the coming weeks and months, with Petherbridge and Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer due to raise it at an upcoming meeting with aviation minister Anthony Browne MP.
Petherbridge said Abta had been seeing “traction” on youth mobility and noted that the government mentioned the topic in the autumn statement.
He added: “A youth mobility scheme deal would benefit all parts of the UK tourism industry, inbound, outbound and domestic, and also have a positive impact across the whole of the economy.
“It’s an ‘off-the-shelf’ policy solution that really should be seen as a win-win by everyone. It’s encouraging to see leading political figures getting behind it.”
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