The Brexiteers have won. Great Britain is finally leaving the European Union. Alongside the United Kingdom’s shock exit from the EU a number of significant political figures including the Prime Minister of Great Britain, David Cameron have resigned. The effects of Brexit and travel are uncertain.
Many members of the Labour shadow cabinet have also resigned in protest over their own leaders (Jeremy Corbyn ) refusal to step aside. Once thing is certain neither the financial markets or the travel industry have experienced this level of uncertainty and volatility in many many years.
In the months leading up to the EU referendum on June 23rd there was much talk of economic collapse if Britain were to leave Europe. Including falling house prices and an uncertain future for the numerous citizens of European nations that have settled in the UK to live and work.
In leaving the EU the United Kingdom is paying the price for a too soft a stance on immigration and an open door policy that was way too lenient for far too long. Some think this is exactly what has happened.
An inability to deport foreign criminals and other undesirables coupled with more and more jobs seemingly going to immigrants has added much fuel to the fire.
Too much fuel and the fire ignited, fiercely burning and now the UK is exiting Europe in a move that has sent economic shockwaves around the world.
The Effects of Brexit on the Cost of Travel
So will these much derided warnings of so called ‘Project Fear’ over leaving the E.U be justified. Or will the arguments put forward for Brexit being a positive idea be upheld and vindicated? It’s a huge question; one which will affect all of the citizens of the United Kingdom as well as those in Europe for decades.
This is particularly apparent with the travel industry where so many unique factors can affect the costs and difficulties involved. So what impact can we expect on our holidays, business trips and vacations around the world?
The Financial Impact of Brexit on Travel
Probably the biggest long term effect on travellers will be a financial one as reported via this in depth investigation by the UK Guardian Newspaper. In the shorter term there will be volatility which can bring opportunity but also risk.
If Britain prospers as many of the leaders of the Brexit movement have promised it really shall. Then the citizens of the United Kingdom will be much wealthier and more secure within their new non European identity.
The UK pound which dropped like a rock against the USD immediately after the Brexit referendum vote is likely to strengthen and recoup some of the recent big drops. If this all occurs as some have planned and forecast then more of us will be able to afford luxury holidays than ever before.
The Prospect of Higher Airfare Prices After Brexit
The huge success of the various no-frills airlines and the significant impact that these airlines have had on reducing fares and introducing attractive new routes was enabled by the EU’s removal of ageing restrictions on air service agreements. The EU was responsible for the introduction of more transparent and open and transparent competition on routes between Union countries.
Now that the United Kingdom has voted to leave the EU, new flexible flight and business arrangements will have to be negotiated for new air service agreements. This is the only way that British airlines like low cost carrier EasyJet, are to be able to continue to operate freely all over the EU.
Or if other established EU airlines, like Ryanair, or German airlines like German Wings, are to continue to fly in and out of the United Kingdom without any travel restrictions. They also will have to engage in frank discussions with the various partner nations to craft the new landscape into one that works for all.
Higher Call and Data Charges for Travel in Europe
Pressure from the EU aimed at UK mobile phone ( cell ) service providers has meant that the operating expense of using your phone in Europe dramatically reduced in recent years.
Under EU rules, roaming charges for data and calls are due to be abolished entirely next year, in June 2017. There is some considerable uncertainty now as to whether this will actually occur. so whether this will now happen is open to some debate.
Presumably the UK government will cease to implement EU directives from now on. This in turn has the prospect for much misinformation to circulate. Certainly there is the potential among travelers for much confusion in the next 12-18 months. With much information published online becoming incorrect or rapidly dated.
What Will Happen to the UK’s Fine Beaches?
A big EU success in recent years has been the requirement within member states for ever higher standards of clean bathing water quality by the coast. The EU was not shy in naming and shaming countries which were not meeting these clean water standards.
Over the last 25 years, Britain in particular has seen a dramatic reduction in the number of its beaches and coastal areas polluted by raw sewage and debris. Much of the excellent work in improving the UK beaches for the benefit of travelers and tourists has been done.
The question now hangs over places where where improvement to the beaches is still needed. Are these beach and seaside improvements more or less likely to happen now there will no longer be pressure and publicity from Brussels? Just as with so many aspects of life post referendum we will have to wait and see.
Lower Quality Holiday Protection
UK residents are notorious for complaining when they feel hard done by. If a holiday goes wrong or the travel firm goes bust there are protections in place to secure the money.
Financial protection considerations for package holidays in particular were enshrined in UK law under the EU directive of 1992. While a UK government will be unlikely to want to water down existing rules, they will, of course, now be able to do so should they wish.
However it seems rather unlikely that British holidaymakers abroad will continue to benefit from the ‘extended consumer protection benefits’ agreed under the EU new ‘Package Travel Directive. ‘ This travel benefit directive was due to be implemented by 2018, now it may also hit the buffer and never complete.
An Uncertain Future After Brexit for Travelers
On the other hand if the British economy stutters, if UK house prices fall and income taxes start to rise there could be turbulence and instability. All this combined with jobs becoming less secure and a sluggish pound.
In these economic circumstances one must expect that overseas travel will be much less affordable for most people living in England and certain other nations.
Overseas tourists such as those exchanging dollars will benefit from a weaker pound. As for open door immigration, expect much change in due course. However some freedom of movement is likely to remain in order to strengthen, not weaken key alliances within Europe.
It is clear that Brexit represents opportunity and risk for Britain. Amidst the fear felt by some, there is light and hope elsewhere. At the same time Brussels did much good, such as making the UK clean up its water quality at the seaside but now the sun is setting on European inclusion in UK affairs.
As the long arm of Brussels retreats after Brexit, it is up to the next UK government to ensure that the better things that the EU introduced into Britain are upheld, valued and maintained.
That visiting Britain remains a positive experience for travelers heading there from overseas. While at the same time the British people are continually afforded the freedoms within Europe that they have become accustomed to enjoying while their country was part of the European Union.
Brexit may have happened post referendum on June 23rd, 2016 but the future is not set and the impact on travel is equally uncertain.