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Brexit’s full impact on global travel has not yet been felt

Can city breaks compensate for the shortfall in business travelers?
Can city breaks compensate for the shortfall in business travelers?
Written by Harry Johnson

To some extent, the industry so far has dodged the Brexit bullet because the Covid crisis overshadowed and dominated what would have been the first peak holiday season of the Brexit era.

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The full impact of Brexit on the global travel industry has not yet been felt, reveals research released today (Monday 1 November) by WTM London.

Some 700 senior professionals from around globe contributed to the WTM Industry Report, and were asked whether their business had felt any specific Brexit-related pressures, so far.

Almost half (45%) said they hadn’t noticed any difference in 2021 because of Brexit. Of those who acknowledged a Brexit effect, the response was overwhelmingly net negative. Only 8% noted a positive impact compared with 24% highlighting a negative.

The balance, representing one-in-four (23%) of the industry, were unsure or did not know the extent to which Brexit was a factor in their 2021 performance.

The UK officially left the European Union, with a trade deal, at the end of 2020. An article in The Financial Times this summer highlighted the difficulty in separating out the Brexit impact and the COVID impact on UK plc and on specific industries, saying “the picture on trade and employment has been swamped by the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The UK/EU trade deal has already resulted in some regulatory changes that will impact inbound and outbound travel between the UK and the remaining member states.  Many of the UK’s biggest mobile phone operators have announced the end of surcharge-free roaming for travelers, as was required by law when the UK was part of the EU.  This change will add to the cost of a trip for many and damage the in-destination experience for some.

Potential issues around passport expiry dates, driving licenses, insurance, staffing levels at resorts,  immigration lines at airports, and more, are likely to persist into next year, alongside the issues related to COVID-19.

There will also be a combined Brexit/Covid impact on businesses as well as consumers. Recruiting staff will be different, while the complexities remain around cross-border tax, refunds, fulfilment and accounting.

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About the author

Harry Johnson

Harry Johnson has been the assignment editor for eTurboNews for almost 20 years. He lives in Honolulu, Hawaii, and is originally from Europe. He enjoys writing and covering the news.

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