Due to the fact that border authorities in the United Kingdom do not accept ID cards issued in European Union countries, a large number of school children are choosing other English-speaking countries such as Ireland and Malta, with EU school travel to the UK at 61 per cent of pre-Brexit levels.
Following post-Brexit rules, school children including also those on organised trips require a passport at the United Kingdom border, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
Recently, the United Kingdom Government admitted the existence of this problem and introduced new measures in order to ameliorate the situation.
“On school travel, the United Kingdom committed to easing the travel of school groups to the UK by making changes to documentary requirements for schoolchildren on organised trips from France,” the UK-France leaders joint declaration notes.
The same notes that France commits to ensuring appropriate mechanisms are effective for visa-free travel for children travelling on organised school trips from Britain and also ease the passage of those groups through the border.
Through a survey conducted by the Tourism Alliance in which participated a total of 145 businesses who organize school group travel, it was revealed that these companies brought to the UK a total f 728,000 school children in 2019.
The same source found that while school group trips inside the European Union have already recovered significantly well below 2019 statistics, Britain has only recovered 61 per cent of the school marked it had.
According to the operators, the blame is on changes to the passport requirement at Britain’s borders. Based on the survey, a total of 74 per cent of operators stressed that the requirement for school children to have a passport in order to reach Britain was an extremely notable barrier.
“Of course, we understand the desire to protect and improve our borders but the Government’s one size fits all policy post-Brexit of not allowing groups of schoolchildren from the EU who pose a minimal risk to national security to use ID cards to travel to the UK has meant that these excursions are now far more complicated and expensive,” CEO of Unbound, Joss Croft OBE, pointed out in this regard.
According to the survey of the Tourism Alliance report, these groups are going instead to other English-speaking territories such as Malta or Ireland, stressing that the revenue from this segment of the market has significantly reduced for a large number of tourism and hospitality businesses in the UK.
Since the UK is no longer part of the EU citizens of both territories are subject to different rules when planning to reach each other’s territories.