A vote to leave the European Union this month could cost the UK’s tourism industry as much as £4.1 billion a year in international tourist spending alone, according to new research published by Travelzoo.
A third of travellers from Germany, Italy and Spain – and a quarter from France – say they would be less inclined to travel to the UK in the event of a Leave vote.
Four in 10 respondents from EU countries also worry that Brexit could make UK holidays more expensive.
Sentiment among the four largest European Union nations (France, Germany, Italy and Spain) is that the UK should stay in the EU, with just under 70% in the Remain camp. In spite of this, respondents from some nations – notably France – believe that leaving the EU could make the UK a safer destination for holidays.
Although almost 75% of the UK’s international visitors come from within the EU, even respondents from further afield (10% of those from Canada and 12% from the US) stated they would be less likely to come to a post-Brexit UK.
Holidays for British tourists in Europe, meanwhile, could become more expensive if the sentiment expressed by some in France and Spain becomes more widespread: 40 per cent of respondents from these countries feel it would be fair to impose higher fees, such as a hiked city tax, on British visitors, if the UK votes Leave on June 23.
UK travellers have their own concerns regarding the impact Brexit could have on the cost of their holiday. Over a quarter (28%) are concerned that withdrawal from the EU could lead to more expensive holidays for them, while 56% are worried that Brexit would reduce the ease and flexibility with which British nationals can currently travel inside the EU.
Other UK tourist concerns include:
- The price of holiday insurance – 25% are worried that the price of holiday insurance would go up, and 20% worry that their holiday protection cover would be impacted if they were no longer entitled to a European Health Insurance Card
- The cost of mobile roaming – 24% are concerned that roaming charges will increase if Britain is no longer governed by European Union roaming regulations.
- The impact for UK beaches – 22% worry that UK beaches could become more polluted without strict regulations enforced by the EU.
Joel Brandon-Bravo, UK MD of Travelzoo, said: “Our neighbours in Europe clearly don’t want the UK to leave the EU, and the impact of this sentiment could translate into a significant drop in bookings to the UK from the largest European countries. When combined with a potential loss of more than 10 per cent of visitors from North America, as indicated in our research, it’s clear that Brexit could be very bad news for the UK’s domestic tourism industry. Similarly, UK consumers looking to travel abroad also have concerns about Brexit impacting the outbound tourism industry.”