While lawmakers are still struggling to strike a deal on Brexit, the travel industry is looking ahead to what’s next. According to new research from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the travel and tourism industry could see some major growth post-Brexit, potentially helping to drive the UK’s economic recovery.
According to the WTTC report, while the UK’s travel industry remains the fifth-largest in the world, its growth rate in 2018 was only 1 percent, significantly below the global average of 3.9 percent, and also below the European Union (EU) average of 2.7 percent. The WTTC attributed the weak growth to uncertainties over Brexit, as well as a decline of nearly 10 percent in international visitor spending -- dropping from a total of £31.5 billion in 2017 to £28.4 billion in 2018.
Looking ahead, growth for 2019 is only forecast to be 1.4 percent, again below the global (3.6%) and European Union (2.4%) averages, according to the WTTC.
“Post-Brexit, travel and tourism stands to be one of the major sectors to drive a recovery in the British economy,” WTTC President and CEO Gloria Guevara said in a written statement. “Its current growth rate of 1 percent is dramatically below the 6.2 percent recorded the previous year and demonstrates the huge potential of our sector to be a driver of economic growth.”
Guevara also noted that, in research published last month, the WTTC found that over 300,000 UK travel and tourism jobs could be at risk in the event of a no-deal Brexit, as well as almost 400,000 travel and tourism jobs in Europe.
According to the BBC, talks between the EU and UK have once again stalled as the UK government continues to seek changes to the existing Brexit deal, which has failed to win the necessary support in the UK Parliament. No solution has yet been identified to the “Irish backstop” that would prevent a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, which has been a key sticking point in negotiations. Talks will be resuming soon, according to the UK’s Attorney General.