Hospitality and Tourism

The transition period has now ended and new rules for business and trade came into force on 1 January 2021.

Key facts: 

  • Some aspects of hosting and entertaining visitors from the EU will be different after the transition period ends.
  • There will be more requirements on travel between the UK and the EU.
  •  Import and export of goods and services will be subject to new rules.

Examples include:

Hotels, B&Bs, hostels, AirBnBs, restaurants, bars, caterers, guides, tourism workers and tour operators, online intermediaries.

How we buy and sell products, and hire staff from the EU, will change after the transition period ends. Businesses are advised to consider their route to market and look at what it means for their margins when they provide their services, or export and import to and from European countries on different terms, and when costs of recruitment will rise.


  • EU nationals currently in the UK can apply for (pre-)settled status under the Settlement Scheme.
  • After the transition period ends, EU staff that come to the UK to work, will need to apply under the points-based immigration system, and businesses have to sponsor applicants they want to recruit.
  • UK visitors can travel to the EU visa-free with a passport that is valid for at least 6 months, and they can stay for a maximum of 90 consecutive days in any 180 day period.
  • EU visitors can travel to the UK visa-free with a valid passport, and they can stay for a maximum of 6 months.
  • The EHIC card can no longer be used to obtain free medical treatment.


  • Import and export of goods, even temporarily, will be subject to customs controls and may attract tariffs.
  • Importers and exporters of food products have to demonstrate compliance with safety rules at the border.
  • UK services providers will be subject to more local rules in an EU country than now.


  • UK nationals in the tourism sector working in Europe may be subject to local employment and immigration rules. Their professional qualifications may not be recognised automatically.
  • The VAT relationship with an intermediary or hosting service in the EU, e.g. for online bookings, may change.
  • The legal basis for holding, acquiring and monitoring personal data from EU customers, may become a problem after the transition period ends.


  • Travelling between the EU and the UK may be affected by longer passport and personal allowances checks, by uncertainty around the validity of driving licences, insurance and consumer rights, and by different rules for accompanying pets, cash, VAT refunds, card payments, roaming and travel company insolvency.

To do



  • Check what it will mean to provide services in EU countries and which business activities will require compliance with local rules.
  • Find out what exporting goods to EU countries will mean after the transition period ends.
  • Find out what importing goods from EU countries will mean after the transition period ends.
  • Apply for an ATA Carnet for temporary export of items.
  • Call the UK Export/Import helpline for support: 0300 3301 331.


Employing and managing staff

Useful resources to help businesses understand the implications of leaving the EU on employing and managing staff include:

  • Home Office guidance for EU, EEA and Swiss frontier workers who want to continue working in the UK
  • The EU Settlement Scheme enables EU,EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members who live in the UK before the end of the transition period to continue to live, work and study in the UK.

Go to the Government’s checker tool and the EU Readiness Notices for all other questions on EU exit and your sector.

What’s next?

Trade under EU rules will continue as normal until the transition period ends. A new trade agreement will lay down the final conditions for mobility and UK-EU trade in goods and services.

Disclaimer At the time of writing, the transition period ends on 31 December 2020, and the changes outlined in this fact sheet will occur from 1 January 2021. If that date slips, the changes will still happen, but at a later date. For latest updates go to

Related Resources

Tourism Business Advice Hub

Tourism Business Advice Hub

Insights, advice and information for tourism businesses.

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EU Post-Transition Business Resource Hub

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Employing UK Staff in the EU
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Employing UK Staff in the EU

Advice on employing UK nationals that work in the EU after the transition period.