What Brexit Means for Your British Vacation Plans
By the end of business on June 24, 2016, everyone on Earth knew the word, “Brexit,” and what it meant. The British have vacated their 40+ year membership within the European Union. The European Union was born out of the ashes of WWI and WWI. In simplistic terms, the E.U. is a one-market trade and commerce alliance between 28, or soon to be, 27-member nation strong alliance. How these countries conduct business with one another are simplified and made more convenient by membership within the E. U. Not a perfect process by any means, no one suggests that. Yet any finance expert will tell you that financial markets like stability and predictability.
Before we get into the Brexit ramifications of travel to Britain and Europe, let’s back up a little bit. After Brexit was reported to the world, global stock markets lost $2 trillion dollars on June 24 alone. Consider that during the 2008 financial crisis only about $1.9 trillion was lost. The British pound plummeted in value in a loss not seen since the mid-1980’s. Let’s put that in perspective. On June 24th, 2016, before word of the official Brexit vote reached the world, the British pound stood at a value of $1.50 against USD $1, relatively speaking. At the end of the day, the British pound had a value of $1.36 against USD $1. In 1985 the British pound fell to a value of USD $1.05, or near parity.
Why does this matter?
In a few years’ time, because of demand supplied by tourism and global finance, the British Strawberry may become virtually unaffordable for use in the tourism industry. And that was well before Brexit. From your plane ticket to your hotel room to the food you buy while in a hotel, Brexit will affect you. Especially if you vacation in Britain or Europe anytime soon. Keep in mind that global currency values fluctuate every second. But if these trends continue, then a British vacation will be more appreciably affordable in the near future. A lot more so than on June 23rd, 2016, anyway.
Every stratum of global business will be affected because of Brexit. In the short term, people are in shock, but 5 or 10 years from now, how you travel, the prices of the goods you buy, and the current international business relationships of multiple countries will change drastically. For the better? Worse? No one knows. That is why it is better not to panic. Enough people are in shock. That said, the vote is irreversible. Another prime minister years or decades from now may call for another vote, but that’s it for the moment. To put it in perspective, the British voted in a public referendum in 1975 to join the E. U.
Leisure travel to Britain, in the immediately foreseeable future anyway, may become appreciably affordable. You might be able to snag a great deal here and there. After Britain officially divorces itself from the E.U. sometime in the next few years, however, how you travel to Britain and Europe will drastically change. Once Britain initiates Article 50 and officially leaves the E.U., all bets are off. This divorce between nations can take 2 years to become official, maybe longer. Once official, no one knows the effect it will have on global markets. All strata of business that deals with Britain and the E.U. will be affected. From the global financial markets down to the local supermarkets, businesses love stability and predictability. Especially the tourism industry. Because of the weakening pound, travelers may be able to save tens of dollars a day in Britain in the short term. What happens after Britain leaves the E. U., how you will travel to Britain or the E. U., how much more or less it will cost to travel, and the way the E. U. and Britain work together in regards to tourism is anyone’s guess. No one will know the answer to that for months, years or decades from now.
It is the long-term consequences for the travel industry that has worried people. E.U. member nations have in-place aviation agreements between each other that allow commercial flyovers over E.U. airspace territories without bureaucratic hassle or red tape. The United States and Britain enjoy a similar open skies agreement, which allows each country to flow over each other’s airspace for commercial reasons without bureaucratic hassle.British airlines and E. U. member airlines will have to renegotiate new terms for tourism, travel and airspace arrangements. Every country that flies to Britain and the E.U. will have to readjust agreements as well.
Changes in Passports, Customs, and Immigration Controls
Because Britain has left the E. U. and its membership status in Europe, it will have to renegotiate air travel and airspace agreements with 27 different E. U. countries in the future. If British airlines and international airlines going to Europe have to change long-established European air-routes, then you may pay more in airfares in the future. Passports, customs and immigration controls in Europe will perceptibly change within the next few years. Before Brexit, E. U. citizens and U.K. citizen used the same, “citizen,” line at all U.K. airports. Even American citizens have to use the “international line at a British airport because they are foreigners.
After Britain leaves the E. U., all E. U. citizens along with Americans will have to use the international line at the airport. E. U. citizens will become, “international citizens,” not, “E. U. citizens,” in Britain after Brexit. Processing protocols will change, British citizens may be issued new passports, airport lines in Britain may get longer and the passports of international visitors may come under more scrutiny. After Britain leaves the E. U., if you are traveling to the European continent via London, you may have to claim your luggage and check it again. Britain will no longer be part of the E. U. and all new arrangements must be made for checked luggage furtherance. The E. U. enjoys open borders, meaning there is relative freedom of movement between E. U. countries. That will definitely be more attention paid to tourist movements and travel in Europe for non-British travelers flying to Britain or as a layover stop to the European continent.
Weakened British Pound
If you are from New Zealand, India, Australia or a number of other countries, then the weakened British pound means you can score some serious travel deals. So as long as you do your homework, you can probably get a great vacation package and deal in Britain. In the extreme short term, that is. For all intents and purposes, Britain is no longer a part of Europe. That decision will have consequences, especially in the future, if not for now. Anyone who says differently is severely uninformed.
Such consequences may not happen anytime soon. This may happen years in the future after Brexit is officially official. Still, it is not all doom and gloom at the moment. We won’t be all living like “Mad Max,” tomorrow. (I hope.) Lighting your hair on fire, panicking and running around in circles like a cartoon character until you collide with something won’t help either. The global rules for conducting business via the E.U. and Britain will have to be re-written in the many years to come. On the other hand, what has most people worried is the fact that the only certain thing agreed upon by everyone is that Brexit has launched the global economy, and especially the travel industry, into an uncertain future.