What effect will Brexit have on the travel industry?

In 2015, Britain attracted over 36 million visitors, making it a popular European travel destination. Now, the recent Brexit vote left many wondering how the UK’s separation from the European Union (EU) will affect the travel industry. Though it is too early to determine the long-term effect of the split, there have already been some early trends that have started taking shape:

eDreams ODIGEO stated: “Total UK travel fell 2% in the four days following the Brexit vote,” whereas “…overall bookings to Europe are up 9% compared to the same period last year.”

“The pound fell again to a 31-year low of £1.315 on Monday June 27 – the lowest level since 1985.” Early predictions on the effects that Brexit would have on travel were that the weakened pound would increase the cost of outbound trips for British travelers by:
• The need for additional travel health insurance (because UK travelers’ access to free healthcare within the EU could be decreased/eliminated).
• Increased customs charges for items being imported/brought back into the UK (as a result of the lack of free movement of goods).
• Increased cellular roaming fees (because of the removal of the existing cap on roaming charges within the EU).

Because the Euro is stronger than the pound, British travelers have an increased interest in visiting destinations where they can get more bang for their buck:
• There has been an increased interest in sunny, resort destinations such as Thailand and Mexico, and bookings to these destinations are up 19% and 11% respectively.
• Brits are also increasingly interested in traveling to Hungary and Norway, with bookings up by 16% and 40% respectively. Again, this could be due to the fact that the pound is relatively strong compared to these countries’ local currencies.

The weak British pound may become a factor in boosting travel to the UK; recently, there has been a 31% spike in searches for flights to the UK from other European countries.

In regards to airfare, Chief Executive of easyJet, Carolyn McCall said, “This [the EU] has kept all airlines’ costs low and has enabled low fares airlines like easyJet to expand. If the UK were to vote to leave the EU any new, more restrictive aviation arrangements would add cost and therefore fares would rise.”

Though it is still too early to conclusively determine how the separation of the UK from the EU is going to affect the travel industry, for now, it seems as though the results may not be as detrimental as originally anticipated. But until all of the details of the UK’s departure are finalized (and/or whether or not a second vote is called in the Fall), we can only wait and speculate.

Are you surprised by any of these post-Brexit trends? Do you think that we’ll see any other travel trends emerge over the coming months because of Brexit? Are you still planning on visiting the UK (or if you live in the UK, traveling within the EU) in the coming months?


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