As part of their ongoing effort to paint Brexit as a threat to each and every aspect of day-to-day British life, some Remainers like to suggest that leaving the EU will somehow put our holidays at risk.
They insist that we will suddenly “lose access” to the other 27 Member States, or that low-cost flights will become a thing of the past – if the aeroplanes can even take off at all!
We have previously taken a good, hard look at the suggestion that Brexit will lead to flights getting grounded and found it to be nonsense. But many of the other fear-mongering claims are also rubbish. In fact, leaving the EU even offers the Government a few ways to make travel even easier.
Let’s deal with the big one first: it is ridiculous to suggest, as some do, that the end of freedom of movement between the UK and the rest of the EU will force British holidaymakers to get visas just to visit the continent. Many countries all over the world have visa-free access to the so-called ‘Schengen Area’, including places such as East Timor and Samoa.
Is it realistic to suggest that Britain, a large and wealthy country on the very doorstep of Europe and a hugely popular tourist destination in its own right, is going to be prevented from getting the same level of access as the tiny Pacific island nation of Nauru? No.
The end of freedom of movement isn’t about time-limited holiday travel, but about taking back control of the ability to decide who gets to live and work here on an indefinite basis. It might mean you have to fill in some forms before taking a job in Krakow or Bucharest, but it won’t have any effect on your holiday.
What about cheap flights? Well, even Michael O’Leary – the Chief Executive of Ryanair and a committed campaigner for Remain – is on the record telling ITV News that he doesn’t believe Brexit will push up the cost of flights.
In fact, it might even help to drive down costs. As we noted in our previous article on how Brexit is likely to impact flights, one of the reasons that so many big airlines supported Remain is because they can better absorb the high costs of complying with EU regulations (and spend hundreds of thousands of Euros lobbying Brussels, too). Once we leave, the Government will be free to enact policies which help smaller airlines to enter the market, increasing competition and driving down prices.
Another way that Brexit might help holidaymakers, especially those who live outside London, is by allowing the Government to support regional airports. At present, the EU is gradually making it illegal to offer financial assistance to smaller airports in order to reduce ‘over-capacity’ across the continent.
That’s all very well if you live in or around London and have several big international hub airports to choose from, but the closure of regional airports is no joke if you don’t have easy access to Heathrow or Gatwick. Not only do local hubs sustain thousands of jobs, but they make it that much easier to get away without having to add a cross-country trek to London too.
On the other side, they also make different parts of the UK more accessible to foreign tourists and help to spread the wealth generated by foreign travellers around the country. By taking back control of state aid laws, ministers will have new opportunities to invest in the regions and rebalance the economy.