Flying in the face of Brexit uncertainty, British tourism association UKinbound claims that the confidence of the country’s tourist operators is actually on the rise – and has been bolstered by a flurry of forward-bookings made during the last weeks of 2018.
At its annual convention in Glasgow last week, the trade body unveiled the findings of its November/December 2018 Business Barometer study: which found that nearly 60 per cent of its operating membership was “confident” of their forward-looking business prospects – the highest level of optimism witnessed in over a year.
At the time of the survey, 81 per cent of respondents also claimed to be seeing either a similar number or increased numbers of visitors when compared to the same time the previous year – with operators attributing the decreased value of the pound to a marked upturn in footfall and forward-bookings from both North American and Asian customers.
Indeed, throughout 2018 China and the United States remained the UK’s top two growth markets in terms of inbound trips, whilst UK footfall from Japan also enjoyed a notable rise.
UKI chief executive Joss Croft called the findings of the group’s latest industry analysis “encouraging” given the political head- winds – but reiterated concerns regarding the government’s newly proposed immigration system after Britain’s divorce from Europe.
“We remain concerned about the government’s immigration strategy post Brexit which will look to restrict employing EU nationals to those only earning over £30k,” she remarked. “Recruitment and retention of staff in the industry is already a challenge – due in part to Brexit, and this proposed restriction could have a real impact on the industry, which relies heavily on its EU employees due to their language and customer service skills.”