04 Mar 2021 Business Insights

How will Brexit affect the travel industry?

If navigating the effects of a worldwide pandemic wasn’t enough, the travel industry has also found itself having to steer the ship during Brexit. Regardless of your opinion of leaving or staying in the EU, there’s no doubt that the recent withdrawal from the European Union has led to some adjustments.

However, with a deal struck at the turn of the year, businesses all over the UK now have a clearer picture of the landscape in front of them – and that includes travel companies. But what does Brexit mean if you’re working in the travel industry?

We’ve put this handy guide together, looking at how the UK travel industry will need to adapt to new Brexit regulations and how it may impact you and your customers. Read on, and find out how Brexit will affect the travel industry.

It’s a deal 🤝

The UK-EU trade agreement came into effect on Jan 1st 2021, bringing with it a new relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union. The deal left many breathing a sigh of relief, even if it does have some implications for how travel brands will operate as we advance.

Many travel companies find themselves asking questions about the deal, which shows there’s still a lack of clarity. However, while there will naturally be some teething periods to deal with, large events like this also create opportunities, even if they aren’t so evident in the short term.

Travelling between the 🇬🇧 & 🇪🇺

The ability to travel, work, study and live between countries in the EU has been our reality since the 1970s and, therefore, will take some adjustments as we settle into a new relationship. From January 1st 2021, UK citizens will need a minimum of six months validity on a less than 10 years old passport to travel within the EU.

And from October 2021, travellers to the UK will only be allowed to enter if they have a passport, with national identity cards no longer valid. There will also be a 90-day holiday allowance for travellers going to the EU within any 180-day period. The 90-day holiday allowance can be completed in one continuous visit or divided into shorter trips.

From a travel brand’s perspective, the need for transparency when communicating with customers is vital. Many won’t be aware of these changes, and so you can mitigate potential issues around travel restrictions by highlighting the new rules in advance until holidaymakers are accustomed to the new regulations.

A weaker or stronger 💷?

Many travel companies buy and sell currencies, be it dollars, yen or euros. Since the deal, the pound has remained relatively steady, neither going up nor dropping significantly. Of course, it’s impossible to project how it performs in the coming months, especially when you add Covid into the mix.

Therefore, travel brands should err on the side of caution, especially if predictions are to be believed. If the pound drops, it could signal the cost of holiday prices rising but profit margins dropping, as fewer people can book their trips. Planning for a weaker pound could be in the best interests of travel brands, at least in the short term, until there is more certainty.

Brexit and business travel 🛫

Business travel makes up a key part of revenue for a lot of brands, and many are keen to see how it looks when getting on planes again is a possibility. Depending on the country and type of business activity, passport holders from the UK and EU may need to apply for permits.

Business activities such as meetings, conferences and sales trips are exempt. But it’s worth encouraging business travellers to check statuses, especially if you work directly with clients booking and organising their professional trips.

Identifying regulations that apply to your needs 📋

Navigating regulation is one of the key requirements post-Brexit, and each travel brand will need to see which legislation applies to their business. For example, fast-track queues are likely to be a thing of the past for Brits at most European airports, so you’ll need to decide how (or if) this could affect your operations.

The same goes for working and studying in the EU. A travel brand that deals in the placement of professionals and students abroad will need to familiarise themselves with regulations in order to provide the best possible service to their clients.

It’s up to travel brands to provide a consistent messaging service that helps travellers navigate new requirements. Even if it’s not your responsibility to update customers, doing so can help build trust and show that you’re working hard to ensure they have a seamless travel experience.


Brexit and beyond 🛬

There’s plenty to unpack for travel brands in the aftermath of Brexit, but the overall outlook can still be a positive one. And with Covid restrictions easing over the next few months, there’s bound to be pent-up demand for holidaymakers, and you can expect a busy period. Regardless of the future outlook, the travel industry can flourish as we all look forward to boarding a plane again.