This week, Theresa May saw British Parliament again vote down (432 to 202) the latest proposal to leave the European Union (E.U.).
With still no plan in place and the March 29 Brexit deadline fast approaching, a “no-deal” Brexit is becoming a very real possibility, requiring meeting planners to get very smart about traveling and meeting in the U.K.
Last month, the E.U. confirmed that British citizens will eventually have to pay about $8 when visiting mainland Europe and that they may even require a visa to visit. That said, the U.K. government is advising that citizens have at least six months validity left on their passport when traveling to and from the E.U. But for planners meeting in the U.K. or planning on doing so after March, here are some of the major things you need to consider:
The biggest concern is for attendees coming from the E.U. Since they will likely be treated as foreigners at customs, those lines will be much longer. That’s due to the fact that there is not yet the amount of staff required to handle the influx of foreign arrivals. For your top execs, you may want to look into the Premium Gatwick Passport Control service at London’s Gatwick airport or look into the Fast Track option at Heathrow.
Shipping goods from mainland Europe to the U.K. could become much more difficult as well. If you know now that you’ll be trying to ship between the two, look into shipping ahead of time and see if your venue will store it for you until your event. The last thing you need is an item getting stuck at customs and not making it to your event.
Last but never least, if you’re currently negotiating contracts with venues and vendors in the U.K., make sure to factor in a no-Brexit scenario in which exchange rates could go up quite dramatically.