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Brexit and its impact on the cruise industry under the spotlight at Seatrade Europe

Brexit will be the focus of a panel discussion at Seatrade Europe with panelists: Tim Reardon (top right), Stuart Levin and Maria Pittordis
With Brexit negotiations now in full flow, talk about how it will impact the cruise industry is at the top of many an agenda.

Tim Reardon, policy director – taxation, ferry and cruise, UK Chamber of Shipping, told Seatrade Cruise, 'Despite endless punditry about how everything is caught up in uncertainty, the travel business is very much working on the assumption that life will continue much as it is now.'

However, he did continue to say that such an approach is based in part on the fact that Brexit will make no difference to where ships may go or to the services they may offer.

'The regulatory frameworks of the UN and the OECD, which bind both the UK and the countries of the EU, ensure that there will be no dislocation to itineraries.

'British cruise ships will be free to continue sailing to EU ports, and European ships will be free to continue sailing to British ports, just as American and other ships are currently free to sail to both,' he remarked.

Giving a cruise line perspective, Stuart Leven, chairman, CLIA UK & Ireland, vp, EMEA and managing director, RCL Cruises Ltd, feels that, 'the industry enjoys global frameworks which mitigate any risk to ongoing marine operations. However, the freedom of movement of our guests and the customs union are two areas which will be determined during the Brexit negotiations.'

Leven, who is on the Tourism Industry Council advising on Brexit continued, 'As negotiations start ministers have been made aware of the potential impacts. It is critical that they listen to the industry, and that we collectively continue to lobby both sides of the debate through the full negotiation process.'

From a legal perspective, Maria Pittordis, partner, head of marine trade & energy for Hill Dickinson, says that, 'consumers should have confidence and continue to book their cruises as CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) is working closely together with DfT and the UK Chamber of Shipping to address legal issues that are relevant to cruises, ports and commercial shipping and must be resolved for 2019.'

Pittordis added, 'The industry is addressing these in the appropriate manner including lobbying so as to ensure legal and regulatory provisions are addressed during the Brexit negotiations.'

Reardon, who has written a report on his views about Brexit, will lead a discussion, together with Leven and Pittordis, on the impact of Brexit on the European cruise industry in more detail at Seatrade Europe 2017, which is being held at Hamburg Messe und Congress in Hamburg, Germany.

The session will take place on September 7 from 0930-1015 hrs.