With June 23 fast approaching, and the issue over whether Britain should exit or remain part of the EU firmly at the forefront of current political debate, Advantage conducted a survey at its conference on MSC Fantasia last week to gauge which way consortium members were considering to vote.
The results revealed that the majority at 53% still remain undecided. Of those who had decided, 37% thought we should stay in the EU with only 10% expressing that they wished to exit.
With the chance to qualify why they voted the way they did in the poll, comments from the majority of 'don't know's' either expressed a genuine uncertainty and/or what was described as a degree of cynicism that the real issues were being masked by party political debates and personal political gain.
In a bid to clarify and highlight some of the procedures and issues that could come with either choice, Stephen D’Alfonso, head of public affairs for ABTA, offered a balanced insight to agents during a special segment of the conference. He concluded with a question of customer confidence saying: “What is happening at the moment with your customers thinking about June 23? If we voted to leave, what would that change entail and what impact would that have on customer confidence? In terms of currency impact, there has been an agreed line by both the leave and the remain side that Sterling would likely fall. The leave side admits that it would fall but they also say that it wouldn't fall for nearly as long as the remain side are saying, however we do have to accept that there would be some currency instability.”
In a follow up Q&A session mediated by Advantage’s business development director, Colin O’Neill, it was noted that of the 10% who voted expressing a wish to leave this was in relation to an anxiety and frustration with Brussels.
Joined on the panel by Jo Kolatsis, partner for travel and aviation at international legal firm Hill Dickenson, she said: “You've got national law that has been transposed into UK legislation from these EU directives. We have this level here now that's in our law and I don’t think it's a case that we go tomorrow and can start from scratch…You have to think what does it mean not only now but for the next ten to 15 years because if we were to leave we're probably looking at least that amount of time for us to get straight.”
Echoing this sentiment, Stephen D’Alfonso offered his advice: “Vote with your heart but make sure your pocket can manage it. There are going to be implications and there is going to be some fallout in the event that the UK leaves the EU. To think that there won't be is misguided.”