Brexit could spell the end of cut-price holidays

14 August 2018

Holidaymakers will face less choice, higher prices and a hike in travel insurance costs post-Brexit, according to a leading tourism expert. 

Flights could also face significant disruption as UK negotiators face the “colossal” task of securing new air access agreements to destinations worldwide.

Professor John Lennon, director of the Moffat Centre for Travel and Tourism at Glasgow Caledonian University, has warned the days of cheap travel insurance could also be over as travellers will need cover for flight delays and medical repatriation costs. 

More than 29 million Brits holiday in EU countries every year, accounting for 76% of the outbound travel market. Around 17 million book package holidays but industry insiders believe cut-price offers could disappear.

Professor Lennon said: “People see holidays as a primary purchase. They will still go on holiday but it’s going to get more expensive.

“Almost all major UK outbound destinations are more expensive, with the exception of Turkey. The cost of flying, travel insurance, and data roaming charges are likely to rise post-Brexit. Travellers will also face increased costs for food, beverages and accommodation because of the weakness of Sterling.”

All flights to European Union countries, the US and Canada are through negotiated deals with the EU and there is growing concern about the impact of Brexit on UK airlines.

Professor Lennon, who leads the UK's largest university-based consultancy and research centre for tourism and travel market research and business development, said: “As the UK leaves the EU, the potential for far worse access agreements could seriously damage the flying rights of UK airlines.

“The scale of the negotiating task that faces the British government is colossal. There are more than 60 air access agreements to be renegotiated.”

Industry experts have raised concern over the future of the European Health Insurance Card, which offers free emergency medical cover in the EU, flight compensation and data roaming charges, and the possible introduction of travel visas.

Professor Lennon said: “There’s visa uncertainty about entry into Europe post-March 2019 and UK travellers will no longer benefit from the EU led abolition of data roaming charges.

“The travel industry is just like any other business, its customers hate uncertainty. If things like access, charges and insurance cover are uncertain it will impact on travel patterns.”

The Moffat Centre at Glasgow Caledonian University has undertaken projects in more than 40 countries and is responsible for compiling the Scottish accommodation occupancy and visitor attraction performance statistics.

Its data is used by the Scottish Government, local authorities and public bodies to calculate tourism value and performance.