A leading tourism figure has warned of two-hour waits at passport control for British travellers going to the European Union at the end of the Brexit transition period.
Tom Jenkins, chief executive of the European Tourism Association (ETOA), said that EU officials are likely to spend two minutes assessing each UK arrival’s passport and eligibility for admission.
Speaking at an online conference, Mr Jenkins said: “The big danger for tourism for a no-deal is the operational difficulty of moving from the UK into Europe.”
He said the problem will arise with UK citizens arriving in Schengen – the zone including the vast majority of EU countries.
At present all that frontier officials can do is ensure that the traveller has a valid British passport. But from 1 January, existing European rules mean many more aspects must be checked.
“The border officials, wherever they’re arriving, are obliged to check, do a full survey of the person’s passport, enquire the purpose of the visit, the length of the visit and their means of keeping themselves sustained during their visit, and where they’re expecting to stay,” he said.
“These questions are expected to take up to three to four times the normal ‘glance and scan’ process.
“It’s estimated that it could take up to two minutes per person. That’s fine when you’re the first four people in the line. If you’re part of a 250-seat aeroplane, the lines at the airport could be very, very long indeed.