School skiing trips which rely on British staff to work at EU winter camps could be decimated by Brexit, it has emerged.
Like musicians, ski instructors working the slopes in France, Italy and elsewhere in the EU are now required to have visas to work in Europe – even if it is just for a week at a time.
Before the pandemic, Robert McIntosh – managing director of Interski – would take 250 groups a year, involving up to 12,000 children, to Aosta in Italy.
But now he does not know if he can survive, with visas for instructors costing £300 per visit – and up to 600 instructors required.
“I am facing a battle on two fronts,” he told the Guardian. “Brexit throws uncertainty into everything. The increase in costs because of the visas will be in the region of 100 per cent. You don’t have to be an economist to know that is not going to be viable.”
“It is a disaster and there is almost nothing said by the government, they have not provided us with any information on how we work this.”
Ski industry businesses have warned of the loss of 25,000 jobs if they are unable to hire British staff at ski resorts and chalets after Brexit.
One Lincolnshire-based ski instructor, who has worked on school trips for the last two decades, told the Guardian: “Since Brexit, we have all lost our jobs, our passion. The UK government has put nothing in place to allow us to continue to work in the EU.
“I would normally be going down three, four or five times a year to teach students to ski in the valley. I now can’t do that.”
His experience mirrors that of musicians. Last week, Sir Elton John described the government as “philistines” over the handling of the music industry post-Brexit.
The singer, 74, said he is “livid” about the lack of provision made for sections of the entertainment industry that rely on travel within the European Union.
New rules which came into force at the beginning of the year do not guarantee visa-free travel for musicians in the bloc and have prompted fears touring artists will incur large fees in many of the countries they visit.
Speaking to the Observer, Sir Elton said: “I’m so angry. I’m livid about what the government did when Brexit happened.
“They made no provision for the entertainment business, and not just for musicians, actors and film directors, but for the crews, the dancers, the people who earn a living by going to Europe.
“People like me can afford to go to Europe because we can get people to fill in the forms and get visas done, but what makes me crazy is that the entertainment business brings in £111 billion a year to this country and we were just tossed away.”