‘No deal’ Brexit would deal a blow to UK outbound travel

‘No deal’ Brexit would deal a blow to UK outbound travel

A ‘no deal’ Brexit would lead to a long-term decline in UK GDP growth, and curb the expansion of the British outbound travel market, according to research for World Travel Market London – the leading global event for the travel industry – released today (Tuesday 7 November) at WTM London.

About 85 million outbound departures are forecast for the UK this year, according to the Top 100 City Destination Ranking WTM London Edition, by Euromonitor International.

If a free trade agreement is reached, then that figure is forecast rise to 102 million by 2025.

However, in the ‘no deal Brexit’ – described as the worst-case EU exit scenario for the UK – outbound departures are predicted to grow more slowly, reaching 96 million by 2025.

A third scenario is a ‘light Brexit’, with a more relaxed UK position on immigration in return for access to the single market. If this is negotiated, then the outbound market is forecast to grow much more strongly, reaching 106 million by 2025.

Meanwhile, the inbound market is forecast to grow under a ‘no deal’ scenario, rising from 38 million arrivals in 2017 to about 49 million by 2025 – marginally faster than the baseline forecast from Euromonitor.

If a ‘light Brexit’ deal is agreed, then inbound arrivals would grow at a slightly slower rate, reaching 47 million by 2025.

Whatever deal is negotiated, the referendum result in June 2016 has already had a significant effect on Europe’s travel market, says the report.

“Brexit, and the subsequent fall of the pound, have had a major impact on the travel industry in the UK, with arrivals growing strongly by 5.2% in 2017, while outbound departures are forecast to decelerate in 2017 as UK consumers have less money to spend abroad,” the report states.

“2017 was a positive year for inbound arrivals, but with the terrorist attacks in London and Manchester, arrivals growth is expected to slow in 2018 to 2.6%.”

The researchers expect the UK to achieve VisitBritain’s target of 40 million inbound arrivals by 2020 – thanks to strong inbound demand from Europe, North America and Asia, buoyed by the pound’s depreciation.

The prospect of the UK’s departure from the European Union is also making travel firms more uncertain about the future.

The report warns that Brexit is fostering a “them vs us” mentality, with neighbouring countries in Europe’s fractured business landscape vying for businesses and start-ups.

Furthermore, the report said: “Brexit threatens to undermine London’s dominant position for ease of doing business and its attractiveness as a start-up hub.

“Competing cities that have emerged to steal its crown include Paris, Frankfurt, Berlin, Stockholm, Dublin and Amsterdam.”

WTM London, Senior Director, Simon Press said: “Brexit dominated the debate at last year’s WTM London and this year will be no different.

“The UK’s departure from the European Union is considered by many to be our generation’s greatest challenge, and firms are uncertain about crucial issues such as freedom of movement for travellers and workers.

“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.

“He leads the European MEPs’ negotiating team, which is a key role because the European Parliament will have to ratify any Brexit deal between the EU and the UK.”

  • 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. http://london.wtm.com/. 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. http://igtm.wtm.com/. 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. http://latinamerica.wtm.com/. 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. http://africa.wtm.com/. 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.  www.arabiantravelmarketwtm.com 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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