The FT publish the President's letter warning of another blow to the UK's visitor economy should the government remove the ability for EU schoolchildren to travel on ID cards.
We feel the government is putting millions of pounds of overseas revenue at risk by insisting, from October this year, that children visiting the UK in school groups carry passports. FT readers may well be aware that within continental Europe it is rare for a child to own a passport, as passports are not needed within the Schengen area so parents are naturally resistant to this ‘barrier to entry’ to the UK.
Tourist guides bring in over £40 million directly to the UK economy in a non-covid year. Up to now, visiting schoolchildren have been successfully and securely managed by schools providing lists and ID cards.
Britain’s professional tourist guides, with our famous ‘Blue Badge’ which is seen as having exceptionally high standard of professional tourist guiding in the world, have been largely unable to work for over a year due to Covid and we are now hit by this ‘double whammy'.
We feel the new rules will sadly encourage thousands of continental European schools to choose EU countries. Over a million European schoolchildren used to travel here each year. The loss to hotels, hospitality, coach travel, visitor attractions, transportation, guided tours and so on is beyond calculation. Cultural benefits will also be lost. A continental child that has visited the UK will understand our country, our history and our way of life.
President, Institute of Tourist Guiding
The letter can be found on the FT's website here (subscription required)