‘UK travel sector deserves respect’: Industry stakeholders have their say on Brexit

Joel Brandon-Bravo, UK managing director of Travelzoo brexit3

“Following confirmation of a win for the ‘Leave’ vote, the next 24 months of negotiations will be crucial for British travel – particularly if the UK Government wants to maintain inbound tourism from the EU, and avoid a price hike for Britons wanting to travel abroad for holidays.

Obviously top priority is dealing with the impact the referendum result will have on the value of the pound, but there are other factors that could make the result a big blow for the travel industry.

As such, we’re now urging the government to act quickly to renegotiate how an independent UK operates in The European Common Aviation Area. UK airlines seem unanimous in the opinion that a Brexit will lead to reduced competition, reduced routes and higher travel prices. A concern shared by UK consumers with over a quarter (28%) saying they’re worried a Brexit will lead to more expensive holidays.

Other factors now also up for negotiation, that could lead to a price hike for British tourists include the loss of the EHIC card – which gives EU members the right to health treatment in any EU country, a potential increase in roaming charges following a recent EU initiative cap on charges, and, inevitable changes to visa regulations for Britons travelling to the EU.

With so many variables in play it’s difficult to predict the exact impact the Leave vote will have on the tourism industry, but research suggests it will be a negative one. In order to ensure UK travellers and the UK tourism industry do not suffer as we enter the busiest months for travel, the UK Government has got to enter negotiations with Brussels immediately over the EU policy which impacts travel.”

 

Andrew Shelton, managing director of global flight search and travel deals website, Cheapflights.co.uk.

“Today’s Referendum result will throw the spotlight onto many benefits British travellers have taken for granted for years, including the agreements which created the environment for the budget airlines to thrive and kept airfares low across the board and encouraged the free movement of people, a currency deal that has made the Eurozone so cheap to visit for years, the end of mobile data roaming charges, and free healthcare within the EU.

“Nobody could predict the outcome of the Referendum, and we now face an uncertain future of speculation and renegotiation. Those who have thought ahead and conducted thorough scenario planning for this eventuality are those who are best placed to navigate this new pathway – although we fear few will have done so given today’s shocked reactions.

“Holidaymakers shouldn’t assume that Brexit means all that will be lost. The UK travel market is vital to the economy of many European countries and regions.  It will be in their interests to seek ways to maintain the status quo. The Government must now work hard to secure deals with the EU that support our vibrant industry and we believe maximum effort will be going in from all sides in the coming months and years to ensure the UK cash cow isn’t put out to pasture.

“The most significant short-term impact for holidaymakers will be the currency shock – those who have already booked a holiday in Europe this summer will be concerned that their pound will not go as far.  We have to hope that the steep downward fall we saw this morning settles itself as the news sinks in.

“We found that there is a significant degree of pent-up demand among holidaymakers as people waited to see which way the vote went before booking their holiday, which we expect to be released  – perhaps not immediately – now that the outcome is known.  Yes, some holidaymakers will be deterred from booking by the falling pound overnight.  But the British traveller has proven time and time again that nothing will stand in the way of them having their hard-earned holiday. Longer term, our industry must pull together to protect and preserve the service we deliver to our customers, and our intrinsic value.”

 

Steve Witt, managing director of Not Just Travel and The Travel Franchise

“Despite any exit from Europe taking two years or more to really happen, the biggest effect we will see in the short term is currency fluctuation and market uncertainty.

This means that the prices of travel and holidays could be affected in the future as we don’t know what the effect of currency changes will have on the price of holidays, hotels, fuel etc. Prices for the coming 6-12 months have probably already been fixed and guaranteed with tour operators, holiday companies, hotelier and such like, therefore NOW is a good time to book a holiday.

We may see some prices rise in the future as things settle down, but we also may not because of the important aspect our tourism has on the world economy.

The UK public love their holidays. Long term effects are unclear yet, and so now is the perfect time to book a holiday to ensure you get the best deal, beat any price rises and escape to the sun.

Our travel and tourism industry demands the respect of every country no matter the outcome of Brexit. The amount of money Brits spend abroad is considerable so whether we are part of Europe or not, countries such as Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Spain and many other top holiday destinations need our business.”

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