The boss of G Adventures said uncertainty over the UK’s departure from the European Union was a ‘shocker’ and ‘disaster’ for the market.
Speaking from Toronto on a Travel Weekly webcast, he said: “[Brexit] has been a disaster in the UK, just in terms of the travel market and the uncertainty of it, especially for the 50-plus market. It was a shocker.
“If you can imagine how much of a shock it was for you in the UK, imagine the rest of the world thinking ‘What…are you kidding…the most successful union in the history of the planet?’
“But anyway, so it happened, it’s done and hopefully people just feel a sense of security to travel again.”
He added: “As a business, it is not a great thing for us. Just in terms of employment – because we have an office in Berlin and an office in the UK and people used to travel back and forth, and we’d be able to get people from all over Europe to work – it was just much easier.
“There are challenges, but nothing that can’t be overcome.”
He said uncertainty over the past four years had caused instability but hopes that the market can make progress as arrangements between the UK and EU are now agreed.
Furthermore, the third UK lockdown in early January “dampened” bookings– although sales have recovered in the second half of the month as the “amazing” vaccination programme made progress.
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Poon Tip also said the pandemic has made people realise how small and interconnected the world is – highlighting the importance of working together around the globe.
“After four or five years of divisiveness and division to politics – whether it’s Brexit, or whether it’s immigration or building walls in between Mexico – there has been this division,” he said.
“This pandemic has really made us think that we are in this together.
“We can’t get out of this individually; we have to come together as a planet and no one can be left behind.
“It doesn’t matter if the UK gets fully vaccinated if every country around you is not vaccinated; we all have to come out of this together.”
He has welcomed the election of US president Joe Biden, hailing it as a “new dawn”.
Poon Tip highlighted how the new president has already reversed several of his predecessor’s policies on climate change and other international agreements.
“I do think it’s all going to come together…we all move forward and there’s a new world ahead of us,” he said.
“And I think there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic.”
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