On January 1, 2020, the United Kingdom officially left the European Union, and after 12 months of transition … on January 1, 2021, the new trade and transit agreements came into force. Some measures that will hardly affect our sector (we are in luck), but we have considered that being informed and understanding the new bases for traveling between the UK and Spain is important. We have spoken with Aervio and Cititravel to tell us their vision, and how it will affect our sector.
The United Kingdom leaves the European Union, now what?
Since last January 1, 2021, travelers can stay in both regions, without the need for a visa, for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. Therefore, those who travel from Spain to the United Kingdom, and vice versa, may stay up to 90 days in a 180-day period, without having to apply for a visa. However, they must comply with the entry requirements established in the Schengen Borders Code, such as the supporting documents of stay and sufficient means of subsistence, among others.
And what about business or tourist trips?
“This situation is not an impediment for business or tourist trips. Although it is important to know all the entry requirements and be prepared, ”explains Santiago Montero, CEO of Aervio, a corporate travel management platform. Any Spanish citizen may visit the United Kingdom with their ID or passport valid until October 1, 2021. After that date, you can only enter the region with a passport that is valid for at least 6 months. Only those who have a residence permit or a cross-border work permit are exempt from this rule.
On the other hand, the European Health Card (TSE), which allows community members traveling through the EU to access the destination’s medical services, remains in force. At the moment, the British Government guarantees the necessary sanitary regulations, similar to those of the TSE system. However, Santiago recommends “hiring a travel insurance that is as comprehensive as possible and that can cover any unexpected situation”, since the TSE has certain limitations.
What impact will it have on the events industry?
“Honestly, we are not seeing that Brexit is having a negative impact on our business. We are specialized in meetings, incentives, conferences and receptive events in Spain ”, says Pascale Wegmann (director of Cititravel). On the other hand, the brutal impact of Covid on our economy and life in general has put Brexit at the bottom of our concerns. Spain and the UK have yet to close bilateral agreements. “The British will not need a visa to enter Spain for the events we organize which usually last 3-5 days. Even until June of this year, they don’t even need a passport to enter our country, their ID is enough for them ”, Pascale emphasizes.
What changes will we experience ?; How will it harm us?
“We are not expecting big changes,” Pascale points out. Although you do have to take into account the Euro-Sterling Pound exchange. Since the Brexit announcement, the exchange rate has gotten worse for the British, that means that it is becoming more and more expensive for them to hold an event in Spain. Apart from COVID, this is the main point that could affect this market.
When the events industry recovers after Covid
Will there be new administrative procedures ?; New types of visas? “Yes, we already have to make some minimal changes at the administration level, especially at the level of quotation and billing. The UK is no longer a community country and therefore the VAT rate changes ”, says Pascale. The VAT percentages do not change, and the invoices continue to have exactly the same appearance, but, in our management program we have to make an update to be able to quote and invoice the events with the correct VAT rate, which is the community extra. “Regarding visas, as of today, the information we have is that it will not be necessary,” says Pascale. Normally, within 6 months, the British who come to Spain, will have to be in possession of a passport, their ID will no longer be enough. The new British passports will no longer include European citizenship. But the passports they currently have will be valid until they expire. Therefore, there will be a smooth transition to the new situation and it should not affect the flow of visiting Britons to Spain.
Will our services have to be adapted?
“Perhaps we will have to adapt our services a bit, such as if the British can no longer enjoy free roaming we should look for solutions to offer them good WIFI coverage from their arrival at the airport in Spain. But in reality, we don’t even have to worry about that, since (for the moment), the main operators have agreed not to apply charges for roaming, ”says Pascale.