A vote to leave the European Union this month could cost the UKâ€™s tourismÂ industry as much as ÂŁ4 billion a year in international tourist spending alone.
According to newÂ research* published by global travel deals publisher Travelzoo, a third ofÂ travellers from Germany, Italy and Spain â€" and a quarter from France â€" say they would be less inclinedÂ to travel to the UK in the event of a Leave vote. Four in 10 respondents from EU countries also worryÂ that Brexit could make UK holidays more expensive.
Sentiment among the four largest European Union nations (France, Germany, Italy and Spain) is that the UK should stay in the EU, with just under 70% in the Remain camp. In spite of this, respondentsÂ from some nations â€" notably France â€" believe that leaving the EU could make the UK a saferÂ destination for holidays.
Although almost 75% of the UKâ€™s international visitors come from within the EU, even respondents fromÂ further afield (10% of those from Canada and 12% from the US) stated they would be less likely toÂ come to a post-Brexit UK.Â
Holidays for British tourists in Europe, meanwhile, could become more expensive if the sentimentÂ expressed by some of our neighbours in France and Spain becomes more widespread: 40 per cent ofÂ respondents from these countries feel it would be fair to impose higher fees, such as a hiked city tax,Â on British visitors, if the UK votes Leave on June 23.Â
UK travellers have their own concerns regarding the impact Brexit could have on the cost of theirÂ holiday. Over a quarter (28%) are concerned that withdrawal from the EU could lead to more exensiveÂ holidays for them, while 56% are worried that Brexit would reduce the ease and flexibility with whichÂ British nationals can currently travel inside the EU.
Other UK tourist concerns include:
- The price of holiday insurance â€" 25% are worried that the price of holiday insurance would goÂ up, and 20% worry that their holiday protection cover would be impacted if they were no longerÂ entitled to a European Health Insurance Card
- The cost of mobile roaming â€" 24% are concerned that roaming charges will increase if BritainÂ is no longer governed by European Union roaming regulations
- The impact for UK beaches â€" 22% worry that UK beaches could become more pollutedÂ without strict regulations enforced by the EU
Joel Brandon-Bravo, UK Managing Director of Travelzoo, said: â€śOur neighbours in Europe clearly donâ€™tÂ want the UK to leave the EU, and the impact of this sentiment could translate into a significant drop inÂ bookings to the UK from the largest European countries. When combined with a potential loss of moreÂ than 10 per cent of visitors from North America, as indicated in our research, itâ€™s clear that Brexit couldÂ be very bad news for the UKâ€™s domestic tourism industry. Similarly, UK consumers looking to travelÂ abroad also have concerns about Brexit impacting the outbound tourism industry.â€ť
John Fletcher, Pro Vice Chancellor at Bournemouth University (one of the top global academicÂ institutions specialising in travel and tourism), concluded: â€śAlthough the impact of Brexit on tourism is aÂ difficult one to predict, given that France, Germany, Italy and Spain make up four of the UKâ€™s top sevenÂ tourist-supplying countries â€" accounting for more than 11 million international visitors annually â€" itâ€™sÂ likely that the net result of Brexit will be significantly negative for the UK economy. While the figuresÂ above reflect only the direct tourism-related economic impacts of voting to leave the EU, if touristÂ spending from overseas visitors did indeed fall by ÂŁ4.1 billion per year, this is likely to reduce HMRCÂ revenue by more than ÂŁ1.1 billion and reduce support for around 63,000 jobs in the UK.Â
â€śEven though a UK exit would take some time to complete, especially as renegotiating our revisedÂ status with Europe could take five to seven years from start to completion, there will be immediateÂ effects created by this uncertainty.â€ť
Other key findings:
- The Travelzoo survey of 3,050 British people indicates 46% believe the UK should stay in theÂ EU, while 40% believe itâ€™s time to leave â€" 14% remain unsure
- Around a third of Italian (33%), Spanish (33%) and German (30%) travellers, and a quarter ofÂ those from France (24%), would be less inclined to travel to the UK in the event of a Leave vote
- 10% of British people admit they have taken the impact of Brexit into consideration whenÂ planning their holiday
- 12% of Americans and 10% of Canadians say if the UK leaves the EU they would be less likelyÂ to travel here. American visitors currently spend more than ÂŁ3 billion a year in the UK
- Interestingly for those in favour of an independent UK, 61% said theyâ€™d be willing to pay moreÂ for their holidays
About the research
Travelzooâ€™s survey was conducted using an online questionnaire in the five largest European UnionÂ member states by population, and the US and Canada. The questionnaire was completed by 4,950Â Travelzoo members across France, Spain, Germany, the US and Canada. For the UK and ItalyÂ Travelzoo commissioned independent research with Atomik Research surveying 2,004 consumers inÂ the UK and 1,003 consumers in Italy.Â Tourist spending figures calculated by Bournemouth University using data from Travelzooâ€™s researchÂ and figures from VisitBritainâ€™s Inbound Tourism Reports: www.visitbritain.org/inbound-tourismperformance