When news of Britain’s exit from the European Union hit the streets, there was much speculation in the air of its impact on people. Someone even lamented on Facebook that the value of the British pound that he bought earlier for his trip to London would now be lower when he returned to Malaysia.
But seriously, what does Brexit mean for travellers?
Ross Veitch, Asia Pacific and Middle East-based travel search site, Wego’s CEO and co-founder, comments on the move.
“Regardless of whether you believe that Brexit was a positive or negative move for Britain there will undoubtedly be repercussions for travellers in light of the decision,” he said.
According to him, a holiday to Britain will be cheaper now for most foreign tourists than it has been for the last 20 years.
“The pound has dropped 9.8%, with the value of the pound to the US dollar at 1.34,” Veitch said. “Costs such as accommodation, dining, entertainment and shopping will allow significantly better value for the foreign traveller after exchanging their local currency.”
But apart from currency, the impact of Brexit will be felt in other ways too, like longer lines at arrival points and customs.
“Previously, as a member of the EU, travellers from EU countries were permitted visa free entry, but now, there might be busier entry lines at customs and immigration as they queue up with other international visitors,” he explained.
Airlines are not spared either. According to Veitch, Britain’s airline network may have to review regulations. Earlier, as part of the EU, there was easier access with secured single aviation area treaties throughout the European Union. Now, there may be an increase in airfares for Britain’s national carriers, Veitch said.
But, accommodation costs might decrease as Britain tries to retain its large number of European visitors, since they will no longer be able to travel as easily into the country as before, he added.
London’s position as an entry hub to Europe will also be challenged by other major EU hub airports like Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam which offer inbound travellers easier access around EU countries.
Also, the influx of high-spending Arab travellers from the Gulf nations to London, their most popular European destination, will be affected. They may now select other destinations in Europe instead of London. Rome is a popular choice in Europe, as well as Spain and France, which are popular for its football events. – Ming Teoh