No Brexit effect

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Spain is the most popular holiday destination but how will it fare after Brexit?

Last week at the World Travel Market, (WTM) members of the travel industry discussed the impact of Brexit upon the trade.

At the same time, research from ForwardKeys – which analyses more than 17 million booking transactions a day – revealed that, as of the beginning of October, forward air bookings by Brits for 2019 summer (defined as April to September) to EU destinations are ahead by 5.7% compared to the same point last year. By comparison, British bookings to destinations beyond the EU are currently 28.5% ahead. One year ago, the growth rate of forward bookings to non-EU destinations was 4.3%. ForwardKeys suggests that they don’t “see anything much in the data to confirm a ‘Brexit effect’ on people’s booking behavio(u)r for EU destinations currently.

On the contrary I would have thought that it shows that Britons are more interested in outside the EU given the considerable difference between the data last year and this.

But the key booking period is January to March next year. Until we see those bookings we won’t know the real impact.

According to a poll by WTM itself, 20 million people could turn their back on Europe as a holiday destination next summer unless a Brexit deal can be agreed which is a staggering figure ad rather hard to comprehend. This, WTM contends, could come about if Britons are forced to pay forced to pay £52 for a Schengen visa – that allows 90-day access to EU destinations. Under this scenario, 58% would consider an alternative destination if they have to pay for a visa.

Will our passports need visas for visiting Europe?

But saying what they will do and doing it when the time approaches are two entirely different things. If you believe WT data then the EU should be worried about the non-arrival of British holidaymakers in EU countries and the impact that would have on their economies.

Regardless of whether a deal is agreed or not, 40% of Britons believe Brexit will have an impact on their holiday plans in 2019, with a third worried about holidaying in Europe because of the UK’s departure from the EU.

Another forecaster said at WTM – Euromonitor – that a no-deal Brexit would trigger a drop of five million outbound departures from the UK in 2022. It says leaving the EU without a deal next March would lead to a fall in outbound demand from the UK in 2019 and cause a ‘ripple effect’ across many destinations. It would mean five million fewer outbound departures in 2022 than would have been the case with a delayed Free Trade Agreement.

Spain would be the biggest loser. “In 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.

The current thinking is that a deal is close.

When we see what sort of deal it is then the forecasters and the travel trade will have  more thoughts on how we will react.

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