Fears over Brexit have led to the loss of a third of UK seasonal jobs in ski resorts and summer activity holidays, according to industry body Seasonal Business in Travel (SBIT).
Its survey of 65 independent travel companies found that 1,700 jobs had already gone, with industry leaders citing difficulties with post-Brexit hiring making their business models unsustainable.
SBIT has previously claimed that a no-deal Brexit could pose risks for the 25,000 seasonal holiday jobs in the sector. Its 200 members include Mark Warner and numerous smaller independent operators.
The job losses have particularly affected 18- to 34-year-olds, the organisation says, with travel companies having cut around 30% of their workforce since 2016. Larger operators have lost the most roles (around 1,400 of the 1,700).
Average bookings have been cut by 19%, or the equivalent of 3,800 beds per week, which in turn has led to higher prices for consumers and a reduction in business.
British holiday companies fear that they will no longer be able to employ seasonal UK staff on the continent in the same way as they do currently – they may need to pay into another country’s national or social insurance or tax schemes, for example, which will cost more.
Charles Owen, managing director of SBIT member European Pubs said: “If you apply even the lowest level of cuts identified in the survey across the rest of the jobs in our industry, we are already looking at job losses in the order of 3,200 people since 2016.
“If this had happened all at once it would have made headlines. It really goes to highlight the unrecognised effect leaving the EU is and will continue to have on jobs and opportunities for young people in our sector.”
Dan Fox, managing director of small travel business Ski Weekends, added: “Small and medium-sized independent companies like ours are the mainstay of the outbound travel industry and all together we represent a significant contribution to UK GDP and employment.
“The EU has brought us the most incredible benefits of freedom of movement of our staff, transport and resources and holidaymakers have benefitted not just in terms of affordable prices but also an amazing diversity of holidays.”