Much of the focus of what a Brexit would mean for the travel industry has focused on outbound travel however Allan Lambert, managing director of Blue Chip Holidays, has expressed his concerns over the impact it could have on the inbound travel market…

“A British exit from Europe would be followed by new travel regulations for foreign travellers entering the UK, which could have a huge impact on those outside the country choosing to take a British holiday.

"In 2015 Visit Britain reported a 4% year-on-year increase in visitors to the UK from the EU15 with a record breaking 35.8 million travelling and spending over £21.8 million. The UK has also enjoyed a record breaking start to 2016, recording 2.54 million inbound visitors in January alone, 6% more than in January 2015 and a new January record. Contributing such a large amount to Britain’s travel industry, it is worth bearing in mind the negative impact a Brexit would have on people’s decisions to travel to the UK and the knock on effect this would have on jobs in tourism and ultimately the economy as a whole.

“European guests are invaluable to the UK tourism industry especially because they have different school holiday dates, which means they extend British holiday operators’ peak seasons, helping to ease the pressure on the busy traditional holiday dates when demand outstrips supply.

“For many holiday makers Britain is attractive because it is part of the EU, which enables them to make the most of a European tour. There is a danger that these tourists will be put off if Britain has different travel and trading arrangements with countries such as France, Germany, Holland and Spain. We have no doubt that tourism will continue to grow if we keep the status quo and holiday makers know what they are getting when they come to Britain.

“In 2015, inbound travellers made up 5% of our company’s customer base. Jobs in tourism would also be at risk if there were fewer foreign visitors to hot spots such as Devon and Cornwall, Yorkshire and the Cotswolds and holiday companies that rely on European travellers may see a detrimental impact on their business should Britain vote to leave the EU. UK destinations in close proximity to ferry ports would be particularly effected as they are currently convenient options for holiday makers from France and Spain however they would be less appealing after Brexit. Organisations like Visit Britain, that have invested heavily in building ‘Brand Britain’, would likely face an uphill battle in trying to repair the damage that leaving the EU would have on it, when the ‘Eurovision effect’ is amplified."

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