Brexit – impact on coastal tourism

To update, the Tourism Alliance's tourism survey shows that Brexit has prompted an increase in both inbound and domestic - staycation - bookings.

The survey of more than 500 businesses across the UK found that 18 per cent of inbound tourism businesses and 21 per cent of domestic tourism businesses had seen an increase in bookings since the referendum on 23 June. To read the full survey click HERE

Below is my blog immediately following the Brexit result.

Following the ‘leave’ result from the EU Referendum last week, I thought it would be helpful to share some of the intelligence, expert views and industry response that the NCTA is aware of…

Firstly though, we must look to our own organisations, understandably employees in our sector are worried about their jobs and what this change might mean for them. 26% of the UK tourism workforce is international and they play a vital role in this industry. It’s important that we reassure them as much as we are able, that we greatly value the work they do and as an industry we will work collectively to make sure government is aware of their contribution and importance to the success and growth of the visitor economy.

On Monday, I attended the British Hospitality Association tourism summit; aptly timed the conference included a wide range of speakers including politicians, economists, investment specialists and some of the key leaders in our industry, who gave their views on the implications of Brexit.

They key themes were:

  • Uncertainty in the economy has historically impacted the tourism industry as a discretionary spend, and we should expect a drop in growth in the second half of this year
  • Domestic tourism could see a benefit as the cost of holidays abroad become more expensive – given domestic tourism is so important to the coast this could present a real opportunity.
  • The weaker pound makes the UK a cheaper destination to visit and is an opportunity to encourage more international visitors – 15% of all international visitors include a visit to the English Coast as part of their stay and key markets are Germany, France, Australia, USA and Holland.
  • This is an opportunity to impress upon government the importance of tourism to the economy and how they can support the industry in the wake of this decision.

In addition, the VisitBritain TIER (Tourism Industry Emergency Response) group has met this week and is monitoring the impact on international markets.

To follow is a summary of Visit Britain’s activity:

“With the peak holiday season almost upon us VisitBritain/VisitEngland will be working hard to show why this summer is a great time to book a trip to come and visit Britain by:

  • Reinforcing the value and welcome message on digital and social media,
  • Continuation of the domestic and international #OMGB ‘Home of Amazing Moments’ marketing campaigns
  • The international #OMGB campaign ‘Where Giant Dreams come to Life’ in collaboration with Disney, producer of The BFG

For further information on VisitBritain's response to the referendum, click here.

The Tourism Alliance was quick to respond last Friday with a press release outlining how the tourism industry can support growth post the Brexit decision. In addition, the Tourism Alliance has today agreed the following:

“The Tourism Alliance will be writing to the Government from the Tourism Industry outlining the main issues that the Government needs to address immediately to provide support for the tourism industry. This includes:

a.Countering negative perceptions of the UK as a welcoming destination in overseas markets

b.Providing clarity that there will be no change in the current requirements for visitors to the UK for at least two years

c.Providing reassurances to the large number of overseas workings in the UK tourism industry that they are valued and their right to stay in the UK is unaffected by the referendum.

Going forward the NCTA will continue to keep you informed as the impact unfolds. The NCTA exists to support the coastal tourism industry and through our seat on the Tourism Industry Council and contacts within government and other industry bodies we will work collaboratively to present your views.

Finally, before the referendum ABTA produced a report on the likely impacts of an EU exit which may be of additional interest and this can be found here.