Brexit update: International travel

C&IT investigates how the UK's impending exit from the EU will impact on long-haul travel in the events industry and the reputation of the country.

REPUTATION OF THE UK

"The out vote may have negatively impacted the reputation of the UK for some international visitors" Sam Robson, group events director at
The Appointment Group

While some event professionals expect to see an influx of business into the UK as a result of the favourable exchange rate, others believe the reputation of the country has been negatively impacted by the vote.

 "We have always been known as a tolerant and accommodating country and after Brexit, that seemed under threat," explains Robson. "While all our clients know that the events industry remains as open-minded and welcoming as ever, they need to know the rest of the country feels the same."

She adds that the mayoral campaign ‘London is Open’ has been hugely beneficial to the UK following the hysteria and negative press after the vote.

"We don’t yet know what sort of deal the UK will secure from the EU," says James Rees, executive director of conferences and events at ExCeL London. "But we’ve been pleased at how both the mayor of London and the UK government have responded to the vote and moved quickly to reinforce a message that the UK remains very much open for business."

LONG-HAUL TRAVEL

"The result of not confirming a long-haul destination has been down to Brexit and corporates have been reluctant to go further afield" Rakesh Joomuck, managing director, Pearl Representation

In recent years, corporates and agencies have been celebrating the return of long-haul travel with exotic destinations from South America to the Far East propping up the pitch lists once again. Early signs show that the shackles of the familiar post- recession, could be returning.

"It must be to do with the uncertainty of the UK coming out of EU," Joomuck explains. "Companies are not willing to put too much of a budget towards a long-haul destination for a conference, and would rather keep it in UK or Europe."


Brexit update: The impact so far 

Event spend rises despite Brexit, says Bellwether


The signs aren’t looking too good for short-haul destinations either, with Innovation Norway telling C&IT that it is expecting a dip in visiting MICE groups in 2017 due to the weakening of the pound against the Norwegian krone.

Having said this, destinations are still continuing to invest their marketing budgets into attracting groups from the UK despite the concern shown from some corners of the industry.

Ernest Wooden Jr., president and CEO of Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, said: "We consider the UK to be a top-tier international market and based on very strong figures from the market, LA Tourism will continue to invest marketing resources in the UK to achieve even greater growth."

Additionally, the US Travel Association expects the impact of Brexit on visitation to the US to be minimal. 

More on Brexit:

Engagement and investment key to success after Brexit 

EVCOM to launch Brexit strategy event

State of the Industry 2016: Brexit - the MDs lowdown

Brexit reaction: Event planners outline pros and cons of leave vote (updated)

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