To be frank with you, in terms of Brexit, there’s so much confusion about what might happen and what it might mean – it’s probably too early say, and opinions are conflicting – that my response would be ‘go wherever you like, if you can afford it!’.
"There could also be benefits to UK international tourism in that it will be cheaper for visitors to come here. But that’s assuming we don’t manage to scare off potential visitors."
Brexit is certainly of great concern for a number of reasons – to me, it's mostly unrelated specifically to tourism, but more to EU mobility. Travel and tourism has proven to be a very resilient sector. People will continue travelling no matter what, despite environmental disasters, political instability or the threat of terrorism. People fear but adapt to risk, and people will travel anyway. Following the 2015 attacks, tourism in Paris now appears to be recovering. And look at Bali – for years it was targeted by terrorists, but tourism has continued.
One of the main impacts of the weakening of the British pound will be in terms of benefit to the British tourism sector. Staycations will probably increase in popularity, with people from the UK staying at home, as they did after the financial crash in 2008, so that could have a benefit to the economy.
There could also be benefits to UK international tourism in that it will be cheaper for visitors to come here. But that’s assuming we don’t manage to scare off potential visitors, given the growing number of post-Brexit racist incidents and anti-Semitic sentiment, which certainly don’t give a great image of this country overseas.
"The issue of Brexit goes far beyond where to go on holiday next year... We live in a very volatile global socio-economic environment at the moment."
And we don’t know what’s going to happen with EU workers who are currently in the UK. If you look at travel, tourism and hospitality workers in the UK, the vast majority are international, with a good proportion from the EU. I spoke with a British hotel manager recently, who said he was being asked to report on overseas workers in his hotel. That’s 90% of his workers, and he had strong views that ‘British workers don’t want to do service sector’s jobs’. Why are these people all from overseas? Some may say it’s because the jobs are low paid, some British nationals may even accuse foreign workers for ‘taking their jobs’, but the question is ‘who’s going to start doing those jobs if all those EU workers left? Because the sector is not all of a sudden going to start paying more!
The issue of Brexit goes far beyond where to go on holiday next year. As I said, ‘go where you want if you can afford it’. My concerns are more to do with the wider situation. We live in a very volatile global socio-economic environment at the moment and the whole Brexit issue is in my opinion weakening the UK on all fronts.