Brexit having ‘no impact’ on outbound tourism

Andrew Shelton, the managing director of global flight search and travel deals website,, has revealed that the UK’s decision to leave the EU has failed to dampen inbound or outbound travel bookings reported by the operator.

“Three months on from the vote, the outlook for outbound travel from the UK is confounding the pre-Brexit doubters. When coupled with signs of a nascent boom for inbound tourism fuelled by some of our European neighbours, the indication is that travellers on both sides of the Channel are unfazed by the enforced divorce to come.

“Initial expectations for a post-vote release of pent up demand haven’t materialised, and our data shows that, so far, the result has not had a significantly detrimental effect either on inbound or outbound travel searches.”

In the final few days before the EU Referendum vote, Shelton said Cheapflights saw an increase of up to 40% in searches for travel to tried and trusted European holiday destinations, suggesting Brits had “succumbed to some of the scaremongering about a likely rise in cost of European travel following a ‘Leave’ mandate – and suggesting those numbers would plummet straight after”.

“In reality, looking at the three months since then, the popularity of some of the most traditional European destinations endures: search levels for flights to Italy, Portugal and Spain remain constant – and robust – and some have even risen post-Brexit.”

Shelton continued: “Moreover, the initial surge in UK-bound flight searches from overseas, which saw an overnight increase of 100% from the USA, and 61% from China, has flattened out or in some cases even declined – searches for flights to the UK from Russia have dipped by 18% compared to the three months prior to the result, and from Australia by 12%, suggesting that the UK inbound tourism sector may have to look to our closer European neighbours for succour. Our data shows enquiries from Greece are up 546%, Spain (30%), Portugal (15%) and Italy (36%): all indication that the stronger Euro is making the UK a more attractive proposition.”

“The special relationship between the UK and USA also appears to have weathered the shock. Despite the weakened Pound, the UK travellers have driven a rise of 9% in searches for transatlantic flights since the vote, with a 24% jump on the other side of the pond for inbound flights: the Americans are still coming, even if the Russians are not.”

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