What Brexit means for travel and tourism

Skift highlights comments from industry players
Everyone surprised by the outcome of the Brexit vote probably wishes they’d paid more attention to it than they did, writes Skift. But its impact may not be felt until at least two years from now.
Shock that around half of British people could vote the country out of the European Union after more than four decades of membership (51.9% vs 48.1%) was clear across the travel industry. The decision will hit a variety of industries, not only travel and tourism.
Brexit is a process that will take place over two years or longer. Even a permanent fall in the British currency, hitting travel from the UK including airlines based there, may not be clear for a while. But the UK may also see more international visitors due to favourable prices.
“There is a going to be a very gradual, multi-year transition for the UK out of the EU,” said Mike Olson, senior equity research analyst at Piper Jaffray. “There’s unlikely to be any sort of imminent shock to the system that is going to result in a significant decline in consumer sentiment [regarding travel to the UK or the EU overall].”
He added: “We don’t except a significant reduction in travel demand in Europe or the UK.” The only thing “that would have a negative impact on travel demand on Europe and with Europe as a destination would be an economic slowdown.”
But another analyst says that “Brexit could close off London Heathrow even further to Middle Eastern airlines, for one, and raise questions about Norwegian’s controversial transatlantic low-cost-carrier service from London to the US, currently operated by Norwegian using an Irish flag.”
Other comments from the industry include:
Ryanair: “It’s a good job we’re better at running an airline than political campaigns. Britons are booking our £9.99 seats in record numbers in what will be the last big seat sale of its kind, as they look to flee a country which will be run by Boris, Gove and Farage.” (Robin Kiely, head of communications)
Global Business Travel Association (GBTA): “While it is impossible to immediately assess the implications of the result on the UK, European and global economy and on international relations and world order at this point, GBTA remains committed to the same principles it always holds strong: ensuring business travellers maintain freedom of movement, business is not disrupted, travel infrastructure remains strong and programs and bilateral agreements that facilitate safe and secure travel like the EU-US visa waiver exemption continue.” (Michael W. McCormick, Executive Director and COO)
Etihad Aviation Group President and CEO James Hogan: “In running a global aviation group we have to deal with war, pandemics and economic challenges. The one thing is that people will still travel. It is business as usual.”

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