Brexit - the possible impact on UK Tourism.
Major Tourism Industry Survey Shows Brexit Boost
July 26th 2016
A major new survey of the Tourism Industry released by the Tourism Alliance today shows that the EU Referendum result has caused an increase in both inbound and domestic tourism (‘staycation’) bookings.
The survey of over 500 tourism businesses throughout the UK found that 18% of inbound tourism businesses (businesses receiving visitors coming to the UK from overseas) and 21% of domestic tourism businesses have experienced an increase in forward bookings since the referendum on June 23rd.
Also encouraging is that tourism businesses are looking to increase their levels of investment in their product. Almost 20% of domestic tourism businesses are looking to increase their current investment levels in the expectation of increasing domestic tourism numbers.
Bernard Donoghue, the Tourism Alliance Chairman and Director of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions, welcomed the findings. “These result show the strength and responsiveness of the UK tourism industry and our ability to provide employment and growth for local economies throughout the UK.”
However, he cautioned that “while the industry was expecting a short-term boom in both domestic and inbound tourism over the next two years, the long-term prospects of the Tourism industry are dependent on the UK securing a deal with the EU that will protect the ability of UK and EU residents to easily travel. We will also want to ensure that our industry, which is heavily dependent on workers from the EU, has the opportunity to recruit and attract the workers we need”.
To help achieve this, the Tourism Alliance will be presenting a draft Tourism Exit Strategy to the Culture Secretary, Karen Bradley, at a round table meeting next week. This document will identify the main tourism-related issues that will affect the UK tourism industry and provide the industry’s view as to what actions the Government should take in order to maximise the future potential and growth of the sector.
EU Referendum Impact : Message from TIER - The VisitBritain TIER (Tourism Industry Emergency Response) group is meeting weekly on the impact of the referendum result in overseas markets. VisitBritain has been monitoring sentiment in overseas markets as well as through its channels and on social media, following the results of the EU referendum. Key findings are:
July 6th 2016
The main coverage on social media and within more traditional media this week has been the political instability in the UK. There has also been continuing coverage on the improved value of travel to Britain from the weakened GBP.
- In China both Group Tour and FIT sectors suggest Brexit is likely to boost tourism to the UK from China by 20-30% between July and August. UK group tour products are now discounted from the range of 400rmb to 2,000rmb, which makes the UK tours similar to the price of Schengen tour. There is a positive sentiment on social medial that Brexit will strengthen the relationship between China and the UK.
- There is a strong value message emerging form US and Canada with CNN Money comparing costs before and after Brexit stating now is the best time to visit and a piece in Canada calling travel to the UK the deal of the century.
- Some French operators have cancelled programmes to the UK for 2017 because of uncertainty on Britain issues including the question of visas.
- Within Germany, a small number of coach tour operators have cancelled bookings as they fear groups will not be welcomed in Britain.
- A USA tour operator has said the have seen a surge in sales for tours starting in 2016 however 2017 tours have fallen below last year’s activity.
VisitBritain/VisitEngland have asked Davies Tanner to monitor Business Visits & Events media - their latest report is here.
June 29th 2016
- There has been extensive coverage in international media.
- Commentary in coverage and initial feedback from the trade has been that it is difficult to know what the impact on travel to Britain will be. It is expected consumers will travel as normal, until it is clear on what travel regulations there may be.
- There has been wide coverage in most markets on the weakened GBP, stating this is the best time to travel to Britain, with many markets expecting to see an increase in travel at least for the short term.
- In contrast, the weakened GBP has lowered the buying power of British tourists travelling overseas. Spain, France and the GCC, whose tourism industries rely strong on outbound tourism from Britain, have discussed this within their coverage.
- Within Europe especially and amongst most markets, there is increasing negative perceptions of Britain and its welcome.
- Consumer enquiries on travel to Britain have been regarding uncertainty on the travel requirements, e.g. visas, exchange rates. Consumers are seeking reassurance.
- There is wide-spread negative coverage on social media on travel to Britain. Comments range from the fairly positive (“Brexit will be good for Britain/domestic tourism due to fall of the pound etc”) to the negative (Don’t want to give money to the racists”).
With the peak holiday season almost upon us VisitBritain/VisitEngland have stated that they will be working hard to show why this summer is a great time to book a trip to come and visit Britain by:
- Reinforcing the value and welcome message on digital and social,
- Continuation of the domestic and international #OMGB ‘Home of Amazing Moments’ marketing campaigns
- The international #OMGB ‘Where Giant Dreams come to Life’ in collaboration with Disney, producer of The BFG
They are also in discussions with carriers about the possibility of running additional tactical activity in key overseas markets with a value message.
VisitBritain will continue to monitor sentiment overseas, circulating the next report at the end of the week.
In addition, here is a link to a new Industry Bulletin on the VisitBritain website. It includes a video message from Sally Balcombe where she explains that work that VisitBritain is undertaking to reassure visitors that the UK is a welcoming destination and additional work that is being undertaken in the domestic market.
Britain’s Tourism post-Brexit - Ken Robinson CBE, Tourism Society Think Tank Chair - June 24th 2016
So we are leaving Europe….but my crystal ball says that tourists will not be leaving Britain as a result. A lower pound will encourage inbound tourism and UK residents will take more of their holidays in Britain. Win, win. Britain’s appeal as a destination for visitors around the world was not aided or hindered by our membership of the EU – except that we have not been within the Schengen area, so no change there. Tourists choose destinations for their intrinsic character, their history and heritage, culture, language, sense of welcome, ambience and safety. On these criteria, Britain excels. Our national image will more easily be differentiated from the wider European discordant-family of countries.
We have been thrust into a period of rapid political reappraisal and change. Inbound tourism is a vital benefit to our balance of payments, and is strongly constrained by uncompetitive taxes. Independent studies have demonstrated that reducing Air Passenger Duty and VAT to international and euro-competitive rates will produce an immediate net gain for the Treasury, and an even bigger boost to the economy, for every additional visitor. The reduction of these taxes will now be more essential and easier for politicians and civil servants to endorse. The rationale for major tourism-boosting projects such as the expansion of air capacity will be stronger for a Britain that has to fight its own way in the world and results will be speedier. When we no longer have to send public money to Europe it can be applied to prime the pumps of development and beneficial change at home. It’s time for the tourism industry to advance our case – to make it irresistible to politicians to invest in the growth and benefits that tourism offers.
UKInbound responds to an impending BREXIT - Click here to view
Archive - Pre EU Referendum
Prior to the referendum on 23rd June 2016 as to whether the UK should remain in or leave the European Union a number of papers were produced anticipating the possible impact of leaving. This paper is from Kurt Janson, Director, Tourism Alliance here.
ABTA and Deloitte produced one of the first assessments of a possible leave voteon UK travel businesses and the travel consumer click here to view the report.
The British Hospitality Association (BHA) in partnership with global search firm Heidrick & Struggles, captured the views of 41 hospitality and tourism chiefs at Britain's leading hospitality companies, who collectively employ some 850,000 people with £30 billion in sales. Click here to view the full report - see P.11 particularly on the feedback from CEOs on a possible Brexit..