Futures Forum: Brexit: and booming tourism
On the other hand, there are figures which suggest Continentals are turning their backs on Blighty:
Fears Brexit is harming tourism after foreign visitors think twice about holidays
By WMNlynbarton | Posted: August 05, 2016
Are foreign visitors turning their back on tourism in the Westcountry as a result of Brexit?
Tourism in Devon and Cornwall could to take a post Brexit hit after some of the region's most reliable European visitors said they were thinking twice about crossing the Channel for a holiday.
According to a new international study, more than a quarter of EU nationals say they are less likely to visit the UK in the wake of June's referendum.
There has already been a dip in traffic to a Westcountry tourism website from some countries whose nationals were enthusiastic visitors to the region.
Malcolm Bell, chief executive of VisitCornwall, said he hoped people from the likes of Germany, the Netherlands and Italy would still realise that the hand of friendship was extended from Cornwall, a county which voted to Leave.
"We have got some work to do," he said. "We have got to work on the message that there has been 2,000 years of welcome from Cornwall in terms of mining and trading. I think we should be taking that message of welcome out, firstly to the people from the EU that are working in our community. But we have also got to get the message across that the referendum vote was a vote against the institution of the Europe Union and not against Europeans."
According to a poll conducted by Ipsos Mori, a quarter of EU nationals say they are less likely to visit the UK (26%) or buy British goods and services (27%) as a result of the referendum vote for Brexit. While the pollsters found no signs of a concerted boycott of Britain, they reported "worrying" indications for parts of the UK's economy which relied on tourism.
They found many nationalities who holiday in the UK were thinking again, including 37% among Italians, 34% of Poles and Germans – saying they would be less likely to holiday in Britain, 27% saying they would be less likely to buy British and 17% saying they are less likely to consume British culture.
In Cornwall, the overseas market accounts for around 6% of the tourism economy, with German visitors the majority among those at around 3%.
Combined European nationalities such as France, Italy and the Netherlands make up 2% and the so-called long-haul holidaymakers from the USA and Australia, are the remainder.
European visitors have always been seen as a sector worth cultivating as they spend more because the trip is likely to be their main holiday of the year and therefore longer.
VisitCornwall boss Malcolm Bell
The tourism economy also relies heavily on seasonal labour from across Europe, something Mr bell said he remained very worried about as many young workers may simply chose to go elsewhere next year.
Very early indications from the VisitCornwall website show some traffic from European countries was down in July.
There was 16% less traffic from the Netherlands, 7% less from Italy and 0.3% less from France. However, internet traffic from Germany was up by 5%, from Ireland by 23% and from Spain, there was a huge 53% rise.
Mr Bell said early signs were that the 2016 would be good, but it was less clear about what would happen in the medium to long term. He said he was convinced that the West offered a niche market to European visitors and would be largely immune from any post-Brexit contagion.
"My gut feeling is that we will be more resilient than London," he said. "We still have a very niche product in Cornwall which is built upon by things like the adaptations of Rosamunde Pilcher books in Europe."
Simon Fishwick, company secretary and treasurer for Visit Devon, said it was too early to say what effect Brexit will have on tourism in Devon. "International visitor numbers appear to be holding up well at the moment but most holidays will have been booked prior to the Brexit decision," he said.
Visit Devon was continuing to invest in the tourism of the county and was determined to make its presence felt on the world stage by, for example, attending major international tourism conventions, he added. In 2014, 444,000 overseas visitors visited Devon, representing just under 10% of all visitors, and spent around £192million.
Mr Fishwick added: "Visit Devon is very positive about the future of Devon tourism post Brexit- we have a great product which is largely un-tapped at the moment with plenty of room for growth. It's just a question of getting the message out there and that is what Visit Devon has been set up to achieve."
Ipsos Mori Social Research Institute managing director Bobby Duffy said the terms of the UK's exit, and how the economy performs as it goes it alone will be watched incredibly carefully across the EU and beyond.
"The UK will fight for a deal that suits them – but they'll also have to watch public opinion across the EU, as it could have a direct impact on the UK economy," he said. "There seems to be little sign of outright antagonism from the EU public, but a minority already say they may avoid British goods and visits to the country. Divorce is hard, and the UK already has a reputation as an awkward partner - a backlash among the public in the EU is the last thing the UK economy can afford."
Fears Brexit is harming tourism after foreign visitors think twice about holidays | Plymouth Herald