The recent exit of the UK from the European Union (EU), which resulted in widespread debates in terms of its economical repercussions, also has its effects on the travel and tourism sector. Brexit has lead to a drop in the value of the Pound, which is considered positive for travellers, as it will make travelling cheaper. This is expected to boost tourism in the UK.
Ross Veitch, CEO and co-founder of travel search site Wego suggested that along with cheaper travel, Brexit will may also an impact on UK airports. He said, “The UK Pound has dropped 9.8 per cent, with the value of the pound to the dollar at 1.3415 in early trading since the referendum result has become clear, which means a UK holiday is going to be cheaper for most foreign tourists than it has been for about 20 years. In-destination trip costs such as accommodation, dining, entertainment and shopping will allow significantly better value for the foreign traveller after exchanging their local currency.”
“You can possibly expect to see a number of changes at arrival points at UK airports, as previously, as a member of the EU, travellers from EU countries were permitted visa free entry, so the result could mean busier entry lines at customs as they queue up with other international visitors,” he Veitch.
Speaking about Brexit’s effects on the aviation industry, Veitch commented, “The UK’s airline network may also have to review regulations, which as a part of the EU secured single aviation area treaties across Europe, which may increase airfare costs for the UK’s national carriers. Accommodation costs however, could drop, as Britain fights to retain its large inbound visitor numbers from Europe who will no longer be able to travel freely into the country.”
As a long-serving entry hub to Europe, London may now be challenged by other key EU hub airports such as Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam which will offer inbound travellers easier onward movement around EU member countries.
Indian travel fraternity, in its response to Brexit’s impacts, also agreed that travelling to the UK will become cheaper, facilitating increase in tourist movements and educational travel . Sharat Dhall, president,Yatra.com, opined, “Brexit has resulted in a big drop in the value of the Pound and if this trend remains, then we could see a surge in leisure tourism to Britain, as it will become significantly cheaper. However, it is too early to establish that this drop in the Pound will be sustained and we are yet to see any surge in travel bookings to the UK. A drop in the Pound could also result in an increase in students from India choosing the UK as a destination as it will make education significantly cheaper there.”
“Currently travellers need separate visas for the United Kingdom and Europe and this is unlikely to change anytime in the foreseeable future. Our various businesses at Thomas Cook India, including the foreign exchange business remains fully hedged. The current volatility will not impact our core business in any way, however we will witness wide spreads in the currency trade for the short term and expect that the market will settle down and currencies will find their own levels. On our product strategy, we constantly review prices in line with the input cost and that will remain unchanged,” stated Madhavan Menon, chairman and managing director, Thomas Cook India.