What Brexit might mean for UK travel

ABTA and Deloitte report

March 2016

On 23 June 2016, the UK public decided to leave the European Union (EU). What is the likely impact to the UK travel consumers and industry?


Harnessing the experience of the ABTA Membership, ABTA and Deloitte have considered what a vote to leave the EU might mean for UK travel businesses, and the UK travel consumer.

No one knows for certain what a post-EU UK would look like. However, it is possible to look at how the UK’s existing relationship with the EU has affected UK travel and what the likely impact of the leave vote might be on consumers and the industry.

This report written in March 2016 provides the travel businesses and travel consumer with facts and assessments to help inform the discussion of what a vote to leave the EU might mean for UK travel.

Key findings

  • There are strong travel and tourism flows between the UK and EU (76% of UK holidays abroad are in EU countries and 63% of inbound visitors are from EU countries).
  • The free movement of goods and services, investment and people across the EU has facilitated tourism and travel trade. 
  • A Brexit could lead to a period of uncertainty before a new set of trading relations and regulations were in place.
  • The value of the sterling and the cost of travelling could be impacted in the event of a Brexit.
  • The travel and tourism sectors employ a significant number of immigrants. Changes limiting the sector’s ability to recruit foreign nationals could challenge businesses in the sector.
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