The Brexit Effect on UK Holidays

Tourism has always been a great earner for the UK, so the fact that it left the European Union almost a year ago must have affected that industry to a degree. Lycetts, a provider of insurance for several tourism attractions, shares their research with us as to just how Brexit has affected tourism. 

Have Stay-At-Home Vacations Increased?

The association of travel agents and tour operators ABTA reports an increase of 7% in the number of domestic holidays booked from 2015 to 2016.

It makes sense that staying closer to home to cut costs would be a preference in the aftermath of Brexit. In fact, the main reasons for spending more time in the UK on holidays is because holidays in Britain are more affordable and there is now more choice.

Another interesting stat is that 40% of those planning a UK-based holiday throughout 2017 are choosing a city break such as London. Another 37% said that they would prefer to holiday in a rural location such as Yorkshire and Humberside.

The top five locations are:

  • The South West
  • Scotland
  • Wales
  • Yorkshire and Humberside
  • London

This of course means a rather big boost to the local economy. The average visitor taking a trip within the UK spends an average of £309 on accommodation throughout their staycation, as well as £152 on eating out, £121 on shopping and £72 on holiday.

Attitudes to overseas holidays by Brits

Brits are still looking at overseas locations with any holidaymakers stating they would love to visit a country they have never visited before. Others would visit different cities and resorts in countries to which they have previously visited.

How international travellers are viewing the UK

Foreign visitors to the UK are also on the rise.

A survey by Barclays’ Destination UK reported over 60 per cent of international holidaymakers were now more interested in visiting the UK than they were 12 months earlier.

While the locals have their favourite spots, they differed from those of international visitors with the following areas of the UK this time making up the top five:

  • London
  • Scotland
  • Wales
  • Northern Ireland
  • Yorkshire and Humberside

Barclays found that the average spend on accommodation by this group to be £667, along with £453 on shopping and £339 on food and drink.

What is attracting people to come to the UK then?

VisitBritain’s report reveals that Britain’s historic buildings and monuments, its vibrant city life, natural beauty, and great culture are all great reasons to visit. Words that were often used included “fascinating”, “exciting”, “romantic” and “relaxing”.

Findings revealed the top ten cultural products are:

  1. Museums – 47 per cent
  2. Films – 39 per cent
  3. Music – 39 per cent
  4. Sports – 36 per cent
  5. Pop videos – 29 per cent
  6. Modern design – 29 per cent
  7. Opera – 24 per cent
  8. Sculpture – 24 per cent
  9. Street carnival – 15 per cent
  10. Circus – 13 per cent

London’s attractions proved most popular — 66,938,947 people visited these sites last year which is more than the UK’s entire population.

The most popular were topped by the British Museum in London followed closely by the National Gallery and Tate Modern, National History Museum, Southbank Centre, Somerset House and the Science Museum. The Eden project in Cornwall was the least visited yet had over a million visitors.

Making a success of Brexit for travel & tourism

Right now, UK tourism looks promising. Here’s what needs to stay in place after Brexit:

  1. To travel freely within Europe and beyond.
  2. Keeping visa-free travel between the UK and the EU.
  3. Protecting valuable consumer rights — mobiles, health and medical
  4. Operational stability for UK businesses — such as retaining access to employment markets and continuing to look into tax and border issues.
  5. Seizing opportunities for growth — for example, reducing Air Passenger Duty, cutting visa costs and working towards world-class connectivity.

ABTA’s chief executive Mark Tanzer summarised this strategy by stating: “We want to work with the Government to help make Brexit as successful as possible.”