BREXIT update

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The initial comment on the impact on international inbound tourism markets, as far as they are known, from VisitBritain can be accessed at: The VisitBritain TIER update 27 June 16 .

Meanwhile there is considerable comment and press speculation around the potential benefits for the domestic market.

I don’t doubt for a moment that one of the immediate effects will be fewer UK residents holidaying abroad this year and as a consequence many of those choosing to do something, somewhere holiday related in the UK instead.  If the current economic conditions continue that pattern could then be repeated in future years.  That obviously can be articulated as positive for UK tourism as a whole and possibly for UK PLC as an entity.  That said to my mind it’s rather akin to suggesting that the closure of BHS is obviously a positive for the UK retail and for many high streets as it removes the immediate competition from nearby shops?  Complex issues have complex consequences many of which go by unrecognized and unreported.

I would caution that experience, some of it quite recent, shows that the underlying causes of the decision of some not to holiday abroad can also be detrimental to large parts of the domestic tourism market, whilst the full benefit of more domestic holiday’s being taken is seldom evenly spread geographically, socially or by product or by destination typology. In other words there will be significant winners and losers domestically as well as internationally and, thus, it’s not unremitting good news all round for UK tourism.

Why I airing this with you now? Largely because I am concerned that if not presented as a complex mix bag, the short to medium term performance of the domestic market as a whole, could easily be used as yet another reason to turn off support for the domestic industry by cash strapped governments.  This of course also comes on top of domestic tourism’s performance already being underpinned to a considerable degree by fears of terrorism and instability in once popular overseas destinations.  Planning the longer term strategic direction, the levels of support and the management structure for the domestic market around the current unpredictable woes both at home and abroad I hope might now be seen as being a little short sighted?

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