- Title: Global travel and tourism experts weigh in on Brexit impact
- Date: 8th November 2016
- Summary: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (FILE) (REUTERS) HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT AS SEEN FROM TRAFALGAR SQUARE TOURISTS LOOKING AT MAP LONDON TOUR BUSES GOING PAST TRAFALGAR SQUARE
- Embargoed: 23rd November 2016 12:57
- Keywords: Brexit travel tourism sterling pound holiday
- Location: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM / ATHENS, GREECE / NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES
- City: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM / ATHENS, GREECE / NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES
- Country: United Kingdom
- Topics: Economic Events
- Reuters ID: LVA00357L070T
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The World Travel Market kicked off in London on Monday (November 7) and Brexit was one of the main topics dominating discussions.
Sterling's near 20 percent plunge following Britain's vote in June to leave the European Union is set to have repercussions across the global travel industry.
Britain's official statisticians say the currency move has encouraged tourists to go on a spending spree in the UK, providing a little relief for the economy as it faces an overall sharp slowdown.
They say foreign visitors have helped boost high street sales since the referendum on June 23. London's West End shopping district has also reported increased spending by non-resident shoppers whose dollars, euros and other currencies are now worth more.
"We're anticipating more international travellers coming to the UK, so it's a huge opportunity for the local travel and tourism industry because they're going to see increases in the numbers of international visitors, hopefully spending more money and for a longer period of time," said Simon Press, a senior exhibition director for World Travel Market London.
But sterling's slump means inflation is expected to rise, cutting into the spending power of British households which drove the country's strong economic growth over the past three years.
There are also concerns that the weaker pound will curb outbound travel from the UK, with more families considering 'staycations' than overseas holidays.
Still, representatives at the travel fair were optimistic, saying their countries were offering an attractive variety of packages.
"There's a whole range of tiers of price points on hotels, attractions and so forth, and that's what they're going to negotiate here... We want the UK traveller to continue coming no matter where the pound is against the dollar and again there's a lot of value to be had in the United States," said Malcolm Smith, general manager of the U.S. Travel Association.
"Even if the market were to be down a few percentage points, we're still talking nearly 5 million visitors annually from the UK, that's significant and that's why you're still seeing a lot of exhibitors here... Hopefully Brexit is just a short-term shock to the market and hopefully we'll continue to see the economy grow in the future," added Smith.
Meanwhile Greece's tourism minister, Elena Kountoura, said the Mediterranean nation had seen a notable increase in British visitors from 2015.
"June, July, August, September, October were the best months ever, and from the United Kingdom, even better. So thank you for coming to Greece, thank you for having us as one of your best choices and I wish this will continue," she told Reuters.
The 37th edition of World Travel Market wraps up in London on Wednesday. More than 50,000 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international press are said to take part in the three-day event, which generates over 2.5 billion pounds of travel industry contracts.
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