Just when Britons thought they’d contemplated all the Brexit possibilities, travel changes associated with leaving the EU have some citizens worried. Whether they are leaving the country for business or for pleasure, post-Brexit policies will undoubtedly impact British travelers. It is yet unclear exactly how conditions will change, but this travel uncertainty has more than a few folks fearing the worst.
Ahead of the Brexit shift, Theresa May announced that Britain would return to the old blue colored passports that were issued for decades, up until 1988. She identified the move as a symbolic expression of independence and sovereignty. However, membership in the EU has benefitted British travelers, who currently move freely without visas. Some observers wonder how Brexit will change travel arrangements and whether it could raise the cost of travel outside the UK.
EU Travel Benefits in Doubt
British travelers utilising European airlines are protected from losing money due to flight delays and cancellations. Ticket holders are currently permitted to file claims against air travel providers, in order to get compensation for travel costs and inconvenience resulting from the airlines’ errors. The safety net ensures you won’t pay for increased travel expenses caused by your airline. Brexit could change Britons right to file claims, as well other benefits UK travelers enjoy under the present arrangement with the European Union.
A World Travel Market 2017 Industry Report survey identified some of the key concerns held by UK travelers, leading up to the final stages of the Brexit split. According to survey participants, they are focused on these issues:
- Increased travel costs for holidays abroad
- Losing free roaming mobile service while traveling in Europe
- Denied boarding compensation claims when airlines fail to deliver services as agreed
- Losing access to free healthcare services in Europe
- Travel delays resulting from longer lines at passport control
Half of the 1,000 Britons polled expressed concern about rising post-Brexit travel costs. And with the European Health Care Card in doubt, more than 35 per cent of participants admitted worry over losing free state healthcare. Convenience was also at issue, with at least 30 per cent of those surveyed feeling concerned about longer queues at passport control.
Staycations on the Rise
The European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS), which resembles a visa program, may be the way UK passport holders will be required to make travel arrangements following Brexit. Implementing the system for Britons traveling in Europe would make the process more complicated and more expensive than the present visa-free opportunities available to travelers. Some observers favour an approach similar to the way Swiss travelers access European travel, which could be a suitable method for accommodating Britons.
Amidst uncertainty about the future of European travel and other Brexit issues, it appears many UK families are opting for staycations, rather than traveling abroad. More than 2,000 UK residents took part in a recent travel survey, identifying Birmingham, Edinburgh, and Manchester as common destinations for relaxing staycations within the UK, as well as London. According to the information shared in the survey, holidaymakers staying at home to enjoy UK attractions prefer traveling by train within the home country.
Despite the Brexit shake up, the UK travel and tourism sector has shown growth well above the overall economy. The strong sector’s contribution to the GDP grew by 6.2 per cent in 2017. Not only was UK growth stronger than the global average rate of growth, but the travel and tourism industry grew at a rate 4 times faster than other areas of the UK economy.
Like other post-Brexit conditions, travel policies are likely to evolve as England leaves the EU. In fact, it appears the referendum is already having a lasting impact on travel trends. Staycations have recently become more popular among UK families that were once eager to leave the country. Although some holidaymakers are staying closer to home these days, as answers emerge about post-Brexit travel, holidays abroad and international businesses travel are sure to rebound.