A majority of Brits fear their holidays will cost more next year because of Brexit – and almost a third of travel firms expect to raise prices as a result of the vote to leave the European Union, reveals research by World Travel Market London, the leading global event for the travel industry, released today (7 November) at World Travel Market London.
Research among British holidaymakers found two thirds (65%) expressed concerns about Brexit, mostly because of the plunging value of sterling and the impact on overall costs. However, a resilient 70% said the result of June’s referendum will have no impact on their holiday choice next year.
When asked about Brexit, the top worry – cited by 44% of the 1,445 respondents – was the sterling-euro exchange rate and how that will make holidays in EU destinations more expensive. The second concern – cited by 43% – was a more general worry about overall holiday costs rising. A third mentioned the potential loss of European Health Insurance Cards (EHICs), and a quarter said they were concerned about longer passport queues at airports.
However, just over a third (35%) had no concerns surrounding Brexit, while almost half (43%) said they would like to see a return to the traditional blue UK passport when Britain does leave the EU.
The findings reflect trends seen in the market, with travel agents reporting a slowdown in foreign exchange sales, and the share prices of leading travel groups falling in the wake of sterling’s slumps in June and October.
John Strickland, Director at aviation consultancy JLS Consulting, said the fall in sterling generated immediate cost increases for UK airlines, as important expenditure items such as jet fuel and aircraft leases are denominated in dollars.
He said the UK outbound market to Europe and the US is one of the largest, and Brexit uncertainties could see airlines trimming capacity to and from the UK.
Caroline Bremner, Head of Travel and Tourism Research at Euromonitor International, commented: “The depreciation in the pound will help to entice visitors to the UK in the immediate short term as international visitors will benefit from the favourable exchange rate for spending in-destination. “Yet it has yet to been seen whether capacity will remain at its previous pre-Brexit levels with some airlines already reducing their exposure to the UK market. “In terms of UK outbound, the drop in the pound and the economic uncertainty will be a big drag on UK residents travelling abroad, which will be a boon for domestic tourism.”
WTM London, Senior Director, Simon Press said: “With the pound at a record low, it means WTM London is great value for overseas participants, and a huge opportunity for the UK inbound and domestic travel trade.
“But the outbound trade may well feel the impact for summer 2017, as headlines about sterling make people think twice about an overseas holiday, and airlines have to pass on costs to consumers.
“However, as we have seen in the past, the UK holidaymaker is very resilient and is determined to book an annual break in the sun – and 70% of those we surveyed told us that Brexit would have no impact on their booking plans.”
WTM London is the event where the travel and tourism industry conducts its business deals. Buyers from the WTM Buyers’ Club have a combined purchasing responsibility of $22.6 billion (£15.8bn) and sign deals at the event worth $3.6 billion (£2.5bn). The annual gathering of 50,000 senior travel industry professionals takes place at ExCeL – London from Monday 7 to Wednesday 9 November 2016.
World Travel Market London
WTM London, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend three-day business-to-business exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry.
Almost 50,000 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international press, embark on ExCeL – London every November to network, negotiate and discover the latest industry opinion and trends at WTM London.
WTM London is the event where the travel industry conducts and concludes its deals. WTM London will generate around £2.5 billion of travel industry contracts.
WTM London is part of Reed Travel Exhibition’s World Travel Market events, which also includes Arabian Travel Market, World Travel Market Latin America and World Travel Market Africa. www.wtmworld.com
Reed Travel Exhibitions
Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE) is the world’s leading provider of exhibitions in the travel and tourism industry. Its wide-ranging portfolio of events around the globe covers leisure travel, luxury travel, meetings, incentives and business travel, as well as golf, ski and spa travel.
RTE, which organises more than 22 events around the world, includes three divisions; World Travel Market, IBTM Events and International Luxury Travel Market.
RTE is a business unit of Reed Exhibitions.
About Reed Exhibitions
Reed Exhibitions is the world’s leading events organiser, with more than 500 events in 43 countries. In 2014 Reed brought together more than seven million event participants from around the world generating billions of dollars in business. Today Reed events are held throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa and organised by 41 fully staffed offices. Reed Exhibitions serves 43 industry sectors with trade and consumer events. It is part of the RELX Group plc, a world-leading provider of information solutions for professional customers across industries.