Predicted Brexit Tourism Boost Has not Materialized

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It was hoped that the United Kingdom would see a significant rise in tourism due to the slumping of Sterling as a result of the Brexit vote. However, online UK travel agency Sunshine has revealed that this rise has not materialized. Rather, there has been a 2% increase, which was in line with the overall long term growth expected in the industry.

After Brexit, the Sterling hit an all time low. Financial experts agreed that, while this meant that imported goods would become more expensive, it would also make the United Kingdom more interesting for tourists. The United Kingdom has traditionally been a very expensive country for people to visit, putting them off coming at all. Unfortunately, however, UK based online traveling agency www.sunshine.co.uk has released new details that show this has not materialized.

In fact, there has only been a 2% rise in tourism, which is the normal long term average growth for the industry as w whole. When Brexit happened, there were talks of record breaking waves of foreign visitors coming to the country. After all, with the Sterling dropping some 17% in value in just one day, the chance for people to grab a bargain were plentiful. However, it does not seem to have happened at all.

The Sunshine study demonstrated that there was a record high number of people visiting the country, but the same happened in 2015, and the same again in 2014. Every year, there is a small rise in the number of people who come. According to the study, there had actually been a 2% decline in the number of people who visited for tourism, but this was offset by a 4% increase in business travelers.

The study also found that the expectations of luxury brands like Burberry would increase was not met. In fact, there was just a 1% rise in the three months since Brexit. A representative from Sunshine said: “Our own results surprised us, but they have now been confirmed by the Office of National Statistics as well. We, and many others, expected that there would be a huge rise in visits after Brexit, with people who were waiting to decide whether or not to come quickly making their bookings with low prices. However, this hasn’t happened. These results are concerning because tourism is an important contributor to the overall economy of this country.”

Several other things of interest came out of the post-Brexit study:

  1. More people were enjoying “staycations”, because the week pound meant that people couldn’t afford to go abroad anymore.
  2. Overseas trips increased by 7% in the third quarter of 2016, despite the Brexit vote, but this could be because trips had already been booked.
  3. There was a 10% increase in the amount spent by British holiday makers abroad, reaching £15.8 billion.
  4. Overseas visitors spent just £7.2 billion in the United Kingdom.

The representative added: “For us, all of this means that British people are being typically British and just taking things as they go along, in the proverbial great British stride. When you consider that the Office of National Statistics has also reported that retail sales are at a 14 year high, British people simply seem to spend their money elsewhere. In other words, while foreign visitors spend less here than expected, domestic people spend more, which offsets it to a degree. At the same time, we cannot become complacent. When an attractive country like the United Kingdom loses popularity at rock bottom prices, there may be reason for concern as well. Unfortunately, with all the current uncertainty, it doesn’t seem to be getting any better.”