Firms fear Brexit will have adverse effect on UK’s reputation as holiday destination

Firms fear Brexit will have adverse effect on UK’s reputation as holiday destination

Just over half of the travel trade professionals quizzed in an industry survey say that Brexit will have a negative impact on the UK’s reputation as a holiday destination, according to World Travel Market London research released today Monday 6 November) at the exhibition  – the leading global event for the travel industry.

WTM London’s annual survey reveals that 12% said the impact of Brexit on the UK’s reputation among holidaymakers will be significantly negative, with 41% saying it will be slightly negative.

Almost a third (31%) predict there will be no impact, while 16% predict a positive outcome (13% slight, 3% significant).

The poll found similar figures when the travel trade professionals were asked about the impact of Brexit on their own company or organisation.

Just over half said the impact would be negative (11% significant, 44% slight); a third (34%) said there would be no impact; and 11% anticipate a positive effect (2% significant, 9% slight).

The industry is also split on the impact of Brexit on prices – 50% do not anticipate price rises but 16% do, while more than a third (34%) are not sure about the future implications.

However, there is more agreement on the impact for UK-based firms when it comes to recruitment as two in five UK-based holiday companies expect Brexit will affect their ability to recruit staff from overseas.

WTM London’s Paul Nelson, said: “Brexit is certainly the main topic on the minds of many exhibitors, most notably those in the UK and Ireland section.

“It’s proving to be a double-edged sword for the UK travel trade – the fall in the pound since 2016’s referendum has helped inbound tourism reach record levels this year.

“But industry bosses are very concerned about the long-term impact of leaving the European Union – they are already seeing EU staff leave in considerable numbers, and are worried about freedom of movement for travellers across borders.

“And, as our poll shows, they fear for the reputation of Britain – political wrangling and rhetoric during Brexit negotiations doesn’t help and anti-European sentiment in some of the national newspapers might well be affecting the UK’s reputation among overseas holidaymakers.

“Tourism boards such as VisitBritain are working hard with industry partners to promote a positive image overseas, yet the fall in the value of sterling is weakening the value of their marketing budgets.”

He added: “Our programme at this year’s WTM London will help delegates understand the implications more clearly – for example, our World Travel Leaders and aviation sessions will discuss the impact of Brexit, and our Leaders’ Lunch will feature the European Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator, Guy Verhofstadt.”

For the industry report, there were 1,622 respondents, drawn from the trade around the world.

  • World Travel Leaders Speak – UK Markets – What can we expect in 2018
    14:00-15:15, 6 Nov: WTM Inspire Theatre
  • Turbulent Skies & Challenging Times for the Airline Business
    15:30 -16:00, 6 Nov: WTM Inspire Theatre
  • The WTM Leaders’ Lunch (invitation-only event)
    11:00-13:30, 6 Nov: Platinum Suite 3 & 4


About World Travel Market

World Travel Market (WTM) portfolio comprises five leading B2B events across four continents generating more than $7bn of industry deals. The five events are:


WTM London, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend three-day exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry. Around 51,500 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international media visit ExCeL – London every November generating around £2.8 billion of travel industry contracts. Next event: 6-8 Nov 2017 – London.


International Golf Travel Market (IGTM) now in its 20th edition, is the meeting place for the global B2B golf travel community. More than 600 golf tourism suppliers join 350 pre-qualified buyers and 100 international press for four days of unmissable pre-scheduled appointments, exclusive networking opportunities and invaluable industry and trend updates. Taking place in a different destination every year, IGTM brings together 1,400 golf tourism professionals from over 65 countries. Next event: 11-14 Dec 2017 – Cannes.


World Travel Market Latin America now in its fifth edition attracts about 9,000 unique senior executives. The event generates US$ 370 million of new business. Taking place in Sao Paulo Brazil, this show attracts a global audience to meet and shape the direction of the travel industry. More than 7,000 unique visitors attend the event to network, negotiate and discover the latest industry news. Next event: 3-5 April 2018 – Sao Paulo.


World Travel Market Africa launched in 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. Nearly 5,000 travel industry professionals attend Africa’s leading inbound and outbound travel and tourism market. WTM Africa delivers a proven mix of hosted buyers, media, pre-scheduled appointments, on-site networking, evening functions and invited travel trade visitors. Next event: 18-20 April 2018 – Cape Town.


About Arabian Travel Market (ATM) is the leading, international travel and tourism event in the Middle East for inbound and outbound tourism professionals. ATM 2017 attracted almost 40,000 industry professionals, agreeing deals worth US$2.5bn over the four days. The 24th edition of ATM showcased over 2,500 exhibiting companies across 12 halls at Dubai World Trade Centre, making it the largest ATM in its 24-year history. Next event 22-25 April 2018 – Dubai.


About Reed Exhibitions

Reed Exhibitions is the world’s leading events business, enhancing the power of face to face through data and digital tools at over 500 events a year, in more than 30 countries, attracting more than 7m participants.


About Reed Travel Exhibitions

Reed Travel Exhibitions is the world’s leading travel and tourism event’s organiser with a growing portfolio of more than 22 international travel and tourism trade events in Europe, the Americas, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Our events are market leaders in their sectors, whether it is global and regional leisure travel trade events, or specialist events for meetings, incentives, conference, events (MICE) industry, business travel, luxury travel, travel technology as well as golf, spa and ski travel. We have over 35 years’ experience in organising world-leading travel exhibitions.

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World Travel Market brings the travel industry together through world leading events, content and digital tools, that make it easier for you to find personal and business opportunities and do more effective business.

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