The UK might not be due to leave the European Union until March 2019 but the travel industry is already feeling the effects – and the issues are not restricted to would-be travellers themselves.
Earlier in the year, the European Tour Operators Association (ETOA) warned that multilingual recruits from continental Europe were already staying away from the UK in anticipation of a very different post-Brexit immigration landscape. ETOA’s chief executive, Tom Jenkins, told a Parliamentary sub-committee that the government’s refusal to include languages in “skills” for the purposes of immigration was harming the travel industry. As anyone educated in Britain surely knows, the UK does not excel at producing linguists – and the travel industry, like many others, has traditionally looked to continental Europe for the polyglot recruits it relies so heavily on.
Meanwhile, travellers themselves are keeping a close eye on the EUR/GBP exchange rate. The low exchange rate is affecting everything from the price of airline fuel to the number of Euros in the average holidaymaker’s wallet. The upshot, as most of us know, is that the average European holiday is pricier, in real terms, than it was pre-Brexit.
Although many holidaymakers are continuing to make bookings for European holidays for what we must assume is the UK’s last summer as an EU member state, there is rising evidence that increasing numbers are opting for staycations or long-haul travel. For example, Visit Britain reported that 2017 saw a rise in holidays taken at home by the British, while Butlins also appears to be benefiting from both a post-Brexit sense of nostalgia and the uncertain economy.