Sector chiefs say the increased costs involved in hiring UK staff to work in bars, restaurants, hotels and resorts across Europe has resulted in jobs cuts for mostly young Britons.
There has been a 75 per cent drop in British hospitality staff going to France for the winter season since 2018-19 – falling from 8,000 workers to just 2,000, according to a survey by Seasonal Businesses in Travel.
The group, which represents Britain’s outbound travel sector, said the period had also seen a 95 per cent slump in British hospitality workers going to Austria.
Travel chiefs have urged the government to consider agreeing a new youth mobility visa with the EU to help more young people to take advantage of seasonal work on the continent.
“When people talk about labour shortages they usually think about empty shelves in the UK, but the outbound tourist industry has been severely impacted by these new barriers to hiring UK workers in European resorts,” said Charles Owen, managing director of European Pubs Limited.
The pub chief, who is also director of the Seasonal Businesses in Travel group, said the post-Brexit struggles of the industry would lead to higher costs for British holidaymakers heading to the continent.
Appearing before the UK Trade and Business Commission – the independent body monitoring the impact of the government’s trade deals – travel industry leaders also warned that young people were missing out on vital opportunities.
Mr Owen said: “Not only will this dent our GDP, but it severely reduces opportunities for young people, for employment, experience and skills training. The government must make changes to the EU-UK trade deal to address this.”
Labour MP Paul Blomfield, who chaired Thursday’s session of the UK Trade and Business Commission, urged the government to “listen to industry experts, and offer workable changes to the problems they caused for the tourism sector”.
The former shadow Brexit minister, added: “While the government is falling over itself to offer emergency visas to address domestic labour shortages created by their Brexit deal, they are neglecting the interests of British workers who want to take up jobs in other European countries.”
It comes as a top tourism expert claimed Brexit changes were partially to blame for a major slump in visitors to the UK, since EU citizens can no longer travel to the UK using their ID cards since 1 October.
“That’s enormously important,” Tom Jenkins, chief executive of the European Tourism Association told CNN this week.
“For a family of four, the logistical and cost implications of travelling to the UK become really prohibitive.”
Meanwhile, Brexit minister Lord Frost has warned Brussels chiefs that they should not interpret his “reasonable tone” in recent talks to imply any softening of the UK’s position in a row over arrangements in Northern Ireland.
Challenged in parliament over the percentage chance of success in negotiating changes to the protocol with the EU by Christmas, the cabinet minister said “somewhere between zero and a hundred”, as he declined to be drawn on giving a figure.
Labour’s shadow Northern Ireland minister Alex Davies-Jones said the “last thing this country needs is a damaging trade dispute”.
Senior Lib Dem MP Alistair Carmichael said the government’s failure to rule out triggering Article 16 before Christmas “risks catastrophic disruption”.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies