No-deal Brexit would see slump in UK outbound travel, report warns

The latest quarterly report from the European Travel Commission includes a special feature analysing the impact of a ‘no deal’ Brexit on travel and tourism in Europe. According to the report, the combined effect of the economic and non-economic factors associated with a ‘no deal’ Brexit would cause a 7% drop in UK outbound trips in 2020 and an 8% drop in 2021, relative to baseline projections.

More significantly, the report states that a ‘no deal’ Brexit would have a permanent downward effect on UK outbound travel volumes, which is sure to cause concern amongst many destinations across Europe.

The impacts of this reduced UK outbound travel will not, however, be experienced uniformly across European destinations. Spain is likely to be the most heavily impacted per traveller volumes with an estimated 1.3 million fewer UK arrivals to the country in 2021 relative to baseline projects, and Ireland the most impacted in percentage terms (-5%) in 2021.

UKinbound issues five key asks in tourism manifesto

UKinbound, has launched its manifesto for the UK’s inbound tourism industry, focusing on talent, trade, taxation, transport and transition.

The call from UKinbound ahead of the general election came as the association revealed that bookings and revenues are holding steady for the industry despite business confidence dropping to a 2019 low.

Brexit continues to be the dominant cause of lower confidence levels, with 21% of members experiencing a decline from either Germany, France or Spain.

CEO Joss Croft said: “With the right support, the UK’s inbound tourism industry has the capability to keep growing and innovating.

European hotel investors have been warned to expect a slowdown

Travel Weekly released a special report from the European Hotel Industry Conference in London last week, where hotel investors were warned to expect a slowdown in growth in many markets.

The conference also heard that UK trading is under pressure because of cost pressures against the backdrop of Brexit. Yet the UK remains the largest hotel investment market in Europe, worth £6.3 billion in the last 12 months.

The industry was warned to expect a slowdown in economic growth next year.

Alexander Boersch, chief economist at Deloitte Germany, said: “There are serious headwinds for the euro-zone economy and we already see the effects. Trade growth is at all an all-time low if we exclude the financial crisis. There has been an industrial recession in euro-zone manufacturing through the whole of 2019. We see a 20-point fall in euro-zone investment intentions.

“Brexit adds to the uncertainty. It poses a challenge to the UK and to the euro economy – an effect often underrated in Europe. The UK is more important than China as an EU export market. German trade with the UK is down 7% this year. The automotive trade to the UK has fallen 20%, pharmaceuticals 40%. Brexit has consequences already.”

Brexit impacting choice of destination

At the Travel Weekly ‘s Future of Travel Selling conference, James Ross, head of planning at SYZYGY said: We recently conducted research into how UK consumer confidence in booking future travel has been affected over the last twelve months. Of the 1,000 UK leisure travellers surveyed, 32% were reconsidering the cost of their next holiday, and a further 29% admitted Brexit had affected their choice of destination. Interestingly, Brexit uncertainty isn’t evenly distributed in the UK. The figures also showed that it is most impacting lower income families outside of London.”


Brexit news plummeted to record lows last week – in comparison to recent history – as ‘Brexit’ election candidates focused on other issues such as spending giveaways, the NHS, broad band and immigration.

But the Tory party seems to have made significant in-roads in the pursual of a hard Brexit this week. The Brexit Party, founded less than a year ago and which stormed to first place in May’s European elections announced that they would not stand all 650 candidates recruited for the 12 December election, but instead would withdraw nearly half of them in the 317 seats won by the Tories at the last election in order not to split the leave vote. Still, the Brexit Party remains in competition with the Tories in seats that the prime minister must win to get a majority.

The past week also saw Donald Tusk give his farewell speech as he leaves his post of president of the European Council. In it he urged UK Remainers not to "give up" on reversing Brexit and billed the general election as a moment when it could "still be turned around".Highlighting the third Brexit delay, to January 31, 2020, as "extra time", and that he

hoped that "perhaps it will even go to penalties" with a second referendum or even the revoking of Article 50.Bruno Waterfield from The Times said: “Mr Tusk has infuriated European leaders, such as President Macron, by pursuing the tactic of keeping Britain in the EU via lengthy delays to Brexit and…for interfering in a national election.“It marks a changing of the guard at the top of the EU…The new guard, represented by Charles Michel, the former Belgian prime minister who will replace Tusk, and President Macron, just want Brexit done.“If Britain needs a fourth extension, and EU leaders will know that on Friday, December 13 as they meet in Brussels, it will almost certainly be the final delay.“If Boris Johnson fails to get a workable majority or there is a hung parliament, then most expect Brexit to be kicked back once more until after spring 2020.”


If you have any queries or comments contact Frances Tuke; frances@wearelotus.co.uk