Brexit Britain & other top stories you may have missed in June
In June the UK changed its tune with 52% of the great British public voting to leave the European Union. This makes for a slightly different Top 5
Not a lot more can be said at this stage except to say that a bit like the UK government there has never been a better time for travel brands to get their house in order.
1. Brexit Britain
“To damage your own country’s economy and that of a whole continent, including its image as an economic and military partner, and provoke another Easter Rising in Scotland just for a handful of votes is so absurd that I doubt it will happen.”
This off-the-record (Brexit: a view from European shores) quote from a European hotelier proved Brexit to be not so absurd an idea on Friday June 24. Since then situation has become, if not absurd, then certainly uncertain. A week before the British public voted we rounded up who in travel had said what and today not an awful lot has changed. In the absence of any clear leadership or idea of when Article 50 will be invoked, there isn’t much more that can be said that hasn’t already been said or isn’t speculation.
Airline shares have fallen in both Ryanair and EasyJet, the latter blaming this on “extremely difficult trading conditions”. IAG, the parent company of British Airways also issued a profit warning but has been more upbeat arguing that sales would remain strong. Ryanair, expressing concerns about the ability of UK residents to fund trips abroad given the fall in sterling and a likely recession, took the opportunity to keep people travelling by launching a 24-hour sale for a million travellers post referendum.
Joel Brandon-Bravo, UK Managing Director of Travelzoo, a deals platform, is urging the government to act quickly to renegotiate how an independent UK operates in The European Common Aviation Area. “UK airlines seem unanimous in the opinion that a Brexit will lead to reduced competition, reduced routes and higher travel prices.”
This is also a concern shared by UK consumers with over a quarter (28%) saying prior to the vote that they were worried a Brexit would lead to more expensive holidays.
…while clients are trying to remain positive, most have been completely blindsided by Brexit
Karen Friebe, a partner at law firmBerwin Leighton Paisner
Outbound travel, says this report from ABTA, contributes £28.3 billion to GDP. On the upside, it could be a boon for inbound tourism as Britain suddenly became cheaper for foreign tourists.
So, there will undoubtedly be opportunities. Karen Friebe, a partner at law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner, which represents a number of hotel investment clients, says there are mixed views from clients but most are biding their time before making any decisions. Interestingly though, she says, Asian hotel investors are taking a sanguine approaching viewing this, possibly, as a time to snap up a bargain.
However, Friebe also says that while clients are trying to remain positive, most have been completely blindsided by Brexit. “It won’t be possible to make any decisions right now, but it is a prudent time to consider risk areas going forward,” she says.
In the meantime, as the government attempts to get its house in order the travel industry should too. Along with assessing possible risk areas, they should be using all means possible to consider where the opportunities may lie in what are likely to be stormy waters ahead.
Watch out in the coming weeks for insights into where these might be.
Elsewhere this month
As Euro 2016 gets underway, we consider how travel and sporting brands are exploring ways to cut out the middleman. Fresh insights from FC Internazionale Milano’s Walker Fletcher Managing Director Americas and Christopher Lee, MD Partnerships San Diego Chargers who will be speaking at TDS North America.
In this piece here insights from Christen Garb, Hyatt Hotels VP of RM.
It was only a matter of time before the Irish low-cost carrier moved into rooms and here we take a look at the implications.
Sally White analyses recent events at the world’s biggest OTA and considers the feasibility of a tie-up between two of the biggest names in online travel and a likely Huston successor.