London, November 5, 2017: 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 research released tomorrow (Monday 6 November) at World Travel Market London – 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.”
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