It’s been the topic of interest for the past two years, and as the March 19th deadline approaches, talk will only intensify. As logistics are finalised and agreements drawn up, many British travellers are wondering how Brexit is going to impact their lives.
Airbus has warned that they may pull out of British manufacturing if a hard Brexit is reached. Most travel and tourism companies are preparing for the impact of Brexit whatever way that may be. However, how will leaving the European Union affect the business traveller?
Freedom of Movement
Expect the queues at immigration to become even more congested. British citizens are likely to be excluded from fast track lanes in EU countries thus increasing the travel process. At English airports, it is thought that British passport holders will be the only people allowed to use the express lanes. Prepare to be stuck behind long queues at immigration or use a VIP service which escorts you through immigration and drops you off at your hotel.
Thankfully, experts predict that visa-free travel will continue as normal due to the revenues produced from tourism, especially from conference-related travel, as it would do more harm than good to impede this. Also, the fact that many non-EU countries currently have visa-free access too gives indication that visas will not be required between the UK and the EU.
Cost of Travel
One of the most immediate effects of Brexit has been the substantial drop in the value of the British pound. At a 31 year low against the US Dollar, the price of flights has increased considerably due to the pricing structure of aviation fuel being priced in dollars. Once the Brexit bill has been passed, it is unclear how the economy might fluctuate, however, it is likely another knee-jerk reaction may occur come March 2019.
The EU ‘Open Skies’ policy opened the doors for airlines like Easy Jet and Ryanair to flourish whilst British Airways lost market share. Once Brexit is in place there could be amendments to this policy which may work unfavourably to low-budget airlines, again seeing a rise in the cost of flying and reducing the number of options to British business travellers.
It was expected that Britain would become popular with inbound business travellers due to the weak pound however the industry saw a 4% decline in travellers in 2017, this is likely due to confidence in the UK economy being weak too. Interestingly, Brexit has had a positive effect on leisure tourists with a 21% increase in visitors.
Travellers across Europe currently enjoy free data roaming on many networks. Data roaming has made communicating abroad easier and simple (and getting lost a thing of the past), once Brexit is in place it is uncertain what will happen to data roaming. Will the government implement policies which allow roaming to continue, it is expected that mobile service providers will fight for data roaming to remain free, as will the consumers.
All citizens of EU countries can access emergency medical cover free of charge or at discounted rates, once Britain leaves the EU this will likely be revoked. Therefore, when business travellers travel to Europe for corporate affairs it will be the duty of their organisation to provide them with adequate insurance and care. Sometimes, you may need more than just basic medical cover whilst travelling, we offer an unparalleled security service which protects clients of international organisations from around the world.
What does the future hold for business travellers in a post Brexit environment? The UK could follow the example set by Switzerland who refused to join the EU in 1992, they have established their own agreements which gives them different variants of partnership and control. The UK is keen on restricting the Freedom of Movement policy set by the EU, which will likely result in a completely new set of policies and agreements to be devised.
As the results of what Brexit means for the business traveller come to light, it is a good idea to use a travel management company who provide you with your own dedicated manager to ensure you get the best hotel, flight and transport deals to save you in the long run.