Visa-free travel for Brits has been dubbed the “best news yet”  amid a Brexit breakthrough.

The European Commission this week proposed British travellers should not need visas in the event of a no-deal Brexit, provided the UK offers the same to EU nationals.

UK citizens would not need a visa when travelling to the 26 countries in the Schengen area for stays of up to 90 days.

If a Brexit deal is reached by March 29, the visa-free rules would apply at the end of the transition period. The European Commission said: “This proposal is entirely conditional upon the UK also granting reciprocal and non‑discriminatory visa-free travel for all EU member states.”

A UK government spokesman welcomed the proposal and told Travel Weekly that it “reflects the future relationship that the UK wants with the rest of the EU”.

He added: “We have been clear in our proposals that we want to ensure reciprocal measures on visa-free travel for tourists and short-term business visitors with the EU.”

Abta, which had made visa‑free travel a “lobbying priority”, welcomed the proposal. A spokesman said updated guidance would be issued to members once proposals had been analysed.

Julia Lo Bue-Said, chief executive of the Advantage Travel Partnership, said: “This is great news for the industry after a long period of uncertainty. While this still needs approval to be reciprocated, this is the best news yet [in terms of Brexit].”

Gary Lewis, chief executive of The Travel Network Group, said “this has to be good news”, adding: “It’s in everyone’s interest if we can continue to travel freely across Europe.”

The European Commission also announced on Tuesday that aircraft would not be grounded in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

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