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“No-deal” Brexit: Will outbound trips take a nosedive?

Written by editor

If the UK crashes out of the European Union without a trade agreement, millions of Brits will stay at home and not book overseas holidays, according to global market research provider, Euromonitor International’s study presented at World Travel Market London today (Monday 5 November).

Euromonitor International’s research team predicts that a ‘no-deal’ Brexit scenario next March would lead to a fall in outbound demand in 2019 and cause a ripple effect across many destinations, dependent on UK demand.

Caroline Bremner, Head of Travel at Euromonitor International, said consumer confidence declined in 2018 for the EU, with the UK witnessing a faster deceleration.  “A ‘no-deal Brexit’ is forecast to result in five million fewer outbound departures in 2022 than would have been the case under the baseline scenario,” she said.

“With the UK economy in a state of flux, and a decline in the value of sterling, departures would stagnate over 2018-2020.”

She predicted a ‘no-deal’ scenario would see the pound fall by about 10%, on top of a decline in 2018, which had seen the currency drop to its lowest level in a year by the end of August.

The falling value of sterling will make the UK more attractive to overseas visitors, but Bremner warned: “Any ‘no-deal Brexit bounce’ is only forecast to add 2.0% more arrivals in 2022 than under the baseline scenario.

“The USA would be the source market contributing the most under this scenario but with fewer than 100,000 additional arrivals over 2019-2022.”

Furthermore, the fallout from a no-deal Brexit scenario would be felt worldwide, said Bremner.

She pointed in particular to Spain, where UK travellers account for 21% of inbound revenues in 2018.

“Brexit could reduce 2019 receipts by US$747 million, compared to a delayed free trade agreement, with the UK accounting for over half of that,” she said.

World Travel Market London’s Paul Nelson said: “With less than five months until the UK leaves the EU, there is still huge uncertainty about what the future holds with many commentators think the likelihood of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit is increasing.

“It’s against this precarious backdrop that we hope to help the UK and global travel industry understand the potential impact of different scenarios so that they can plan for various eventualities.

“Brexit has been woven into the fabric of most of our debates and sessions at World Travel Market London because it is the key challenge that our delegates have to grapple with.

“There were 46.6 million holiday visits abroad by UK residents in 2017 – if there’s no deal in the negotiations, and the market does indeed drop by five million by 2022, that would represent a potential fall of about 10%.”

Pre-register to receive a free copy of Euromonitor International’s “Megatrends Shaping the Future of Travel” report on November 6 to find out more about the Brexit impact on travel:

Brexit-related highlights in the WTM London events programme include:

  • The invitation-only Leaders’ Lunch (6 November) will hear from top businesswoman Susan Hooper, who sits on the board of the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU).

Nelson said: “In 2017, we heard from the European side of the negotiations with European Parliament Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt MEP, and this year – as negotiations draw to a conclusion – we will hear the UK’s side from Susan.”

  • Travel Leaders Speak – UK Travel Market: What to expect in 2019 (November 5)

Four senior UK travel leaders from top travel companies across all sectors will join Caroline Bremner from Euromonitor International. EU80

  • Social media and digital excellence in Brexit Britain (November 6)

The panel features a destination marketing organisation, tourist attraction group and an accommodation provider. TA190

  • Trends in tourism advertising in digital & traditional media and a glimpse of Brexit’s effect (November 6)

Presentation by two speakers from Nielsen, the world’s biggest market and media research company. ME580

  • Challenges ahead for the airline industry (November 6)

World Travel Market aviation expert John Strickland looks at the outlook for the industry as Brexit looms. AF190

eTN is a media partner for WTM.