And if the world hadn’t changed and turned upside down enough, Tourism must deal with Brexit. Its complicated. Brexit for the Brits brings forth its own problems with tourism.
Imagine a British tour guide who would meet you in Italy because he or she happens to speak fluent Italian and is an expert on Italy but has a British passport. Well, they can’t work in Italy any longer! Even worse, let’s say I’m a tour guide who picks a group up in London and wants to take them on the Eurostar (which is practically bankrupt now by the way) to Paris. I’m an English passport holder and with the current law, cannot move with the group to Paris. In other words, now until there is an urgent review, you simply cannot work outside of the UK if you have a British passport. Period.
Travel organizations often use a lot of tour guides who currently work outside of the UK who are British passport holders. Their English is….not bad… and quite often what they lack in historical and local knowledge, they more than make up with their unique British humor and acting abilities. All this is now gone! For symphony orchestras, traveling theatre groups, people who are in the entertainment business and need to work inside the European zone, they no longer will be able to. Gone! Yes, a business traveler can still pop across to France for two or three days but the rest will not be legal.
Tourism depends upon tour guides who can handle different countries and speak multiple languages. Incredibly, the British Government has overlooked this, and probably we’re all rather ironically fortunate that Brexit took place during the pandemic. With zero business and zero travelers on organized tours, the urgency to fix this anomaly hasn’t screamed out just yet.
The Brexit decision ultimately will probably cost the Brits a valuable place at the International table. As the financial business inevitably devolves to Germany or the Netherlands and the center of power that London once was gradually shifts, things are going to shake up. London truly was an international city but in the past year 700,000 Europeans have moved out of the UK. We’re keeping close tabs on this because our business depends upon a fluid border and Brexit cannot provide that.
Right now, the UK government has yet to consider any of this. The European Union has already moved on. Yeah, people love to travel to the UK because of the royal family, the fabulous theater, the double decker busses and the sheer weight of tradition that envelops it. But London will miss that injection of European talent and youth that once was there. People came to London to learn English, to take in the sights and to take part in the UK economy and some of them stayed and became resident Brits. They started businesses and integrated into British society. They brought fresh ideas and loved Britain maybe more than many Brits. They became Brits. Gone!
With Brexit or should we say more the European exit, Britain and specifically London will not be the powerhouse it was. I hate to say it, but I think a lot of the people that voted for Brexit would probably reevaluate their decision if they had a chance to right now. According to current polls Brexit would never go through. But Brexit is done.
In the USA, we had a chance to dump Trump. We get that opportunity, every 4 years. With Brexit, it’s done and dusted. It would be extraordinarily challenging to reverse the curse of separation from the European Union. We must imagine that Britain will become less of an International powerhouse. Less of a cultural heartthrob for Europeans. T he strong possibility that Scotland will call for another referendum to join the European Union as an independent nation. We must imagine that Ireland essentially has already left. And where does that leave us? That leaves us with Little Britain. A short sighted and awful decision that leaves Brits minnows amongst the Giants of Europe. Pity.