What does Brexit mean for UK Hospitality & Tourism?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, you’ll know that the UK is set to leave the EU and that this has had an immediate effect on the strength of the Pound Sterling. We’ll be looking at what this will mean for the Hospitality & Tourism sector in the UK.

The Uk: Europe's latest holiday hotspot

A weak Pound is usually seen as a bad thing, but in fact the weakening of our currency against other major currencies is helping our hotel and tourism trade to soar. Pricewise, the UK is now an extremely attractive European holiday destination for travellers.

2017 has seen an increase in the number of tourists visiting the UK, a trend which is set to continue into the summer. Tourism industry experts have also suggested that this record-breaking increase in visitors will mean a substantial increase in how much these visitors spend in our country.

thumb Airplane Icon The forecasted number of visitors to the UK for 2017 is 38.1 million -  an increase of 4% from 2016
thumb Icon  The forecasted visitor spending 2017 is £24.2 billion -  an increase of 8.1% from 2016
 thumb hotel Icon With a forecasted 80% occupancy in 2017, London will have some of the fullest hotels by global standards

The Rise of the "Staycation"

Another outcome of Brexit and a week Pound is the rise of the “Staycation”. Britons are now more likely to stay in the UK for their holidays, as international travel becomes more expensive.

While London will continue to be a destination hotspot, a rise in domestic travel should also benefit hotels outside the Capital as UK residents explore other cities such as Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh. 

thumb population Icon The 2017 Easter Holidays saw 6.6 million British adults plan to take their holiday in the UK 

Brexit and the barista

It’s a well known fact that without a steady stream of migrant workers, many hospitality businesses will suffer. Following Article 50, the Home Office is looking into “barista visas” to make sure that our cafes, pubs, restaurants and hotels are fully staffed after our exit from the EU. This visa would allow young EU citizens to come to the UK to work in the hospitality industry for 2 years. The introduction of this kind of visa would mean that our hospitality industry will not suffer a sudden and devastating shortfall in workforce.

It’s worthwhile to note that the UK Hospitality industry could also use Brexit as an opportunity to reduce its dependence on migrant workers and invest in the training of young Brits.

What the industry experts are saying

Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive of the British Hospitality Association:

“It is encouraging to see yet again a year on year boost in inbound holiday visitors following the Christmas period.  The weak pound makes the UK an attractive destination but the government would do well to remember this is just a short-term benefit."

Sally Balcombe, Chief Executive of VisitBritain:

“These figures not only underpin a longer-term pattern of growth for inbound tourism, one of our fastest growing export industries, but also demonstrates its growing importance as a key driver for economic growth and jobs.

“With our hotels, shops and attractions all offering excellent value for overseas visitors right now, it’s a great time to come to Britain."

 


 

At the moment this is great news for our current Travel & Tourism and Hospitality & Catering students, who seem set to secure careers in a booming home industry. The main worry regarding this current boost to the UK Hospitality & Tourism industry is what will happen when the Pound begins to get stronger again. It’s important for the UK government to grasp this current upturn and invest in the future of the UK’s Hospitality & Tourism industry to keep it as one of the top European destinations.

 

Tourism is worth 127 billion to the UK economy

Sources: Visit Britain, British Hospitality Association, PWC, Raconteur, Sky News