Brexit uncertainty weighs on global travel brands

Mark Johnson's picture
by Mark Johnson

New research from ADARA, the predictive traveller intelligence firm, has revealed the impact of uncertainty around Brexit on both inbound and outbound travel to and from the UK.

The data compares the level of bookings and searches in late August 2018 for travel into and out of the UK for November - December 2018 with the same dates in 2019. 

In line with the UK’s continued position as a premier travel destination, inbound travel searches cumulatively increased by 8%, however despite the increase in searches inbound bookings were down by 2% compared to last year.

Significant declines in inbound 

The report found that the top five origins for inbound travel into the UK all experienced significant declines in bookings with New Zealand travellers showing a 31% decline, followed by Singapore (23%), Australia (16%) and India (13%). 

The exception was the US which received an increase of 8% more bookings and a 6% increase in searches, perhaps due to favourable exchange rates, the firm said.

UK travellers did not return the love, as the US received a decrease in British tourist bookings by 26% and searches by 29% compared to September last year. 

A further look at outbound travel also reveals the UK state of mind around future political uncertainty with British outbound bookings having declined across the board with significant decreases in bookings to Australia (-16%), the Netherlands (-28%) and Hong Kong (-24%). 

Surprisingly the only notable exception for UK tourists is Singapore, which experienced an uptick in bookings, up 28% compared to this time last year. 

The decrease in outbound bookings is also reflected in the steep decline in number of searches, down by 23% from UK consumers. 

Pinpointing the exact reasoning is hard, but several factors such as currency instability of sterling, or the possibility of air travel restrictions seem to be at play into the 2019 booking behaviour. 

UAE searches down 55%

The report found a decrease in searches for the United Arab Emirates, down by 55%, Australia down by 25%, Spain down by 29% and New Zealand down by 38%. 

The only exception in the report is India which saw an 18% increase in searches from UK consumers. 

“Our research uncovers the changing pattern of inbound and outbound flight bookings following increased uncertainty around Brexit”, Carolyn Corda, Chief Marketing Officer at ADARA, said. 

“The change in location preferences of international and British tourists is an opportunity for travel brands to update their marketing campaigns in order to deliver compelling personalised messages that reflect these shifts.”

The data is based on ADARA’s relationships with more than 200 global travel brands and ADARA’s transactional travel data, combined with real-time analysis of travel searches.

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