Another 40 Million people and EU

Japanese Government announced on March 30th ambitious move targeting double of previously estimated figures of overseas traveler arrivals, up to 40 million until 2020. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Government also target more than double of last year’s record overseas visitors spending from 3,48 trillion to 8 trillion in 2020, year Tokyo will host Olympic and Paralympic Games.

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Previous “Games” host was London and using that “golden” opportunity, Visit Britain with the collaboration of United Kingdom Government and other partners launched similar project in 2009 targeting 40 million overseas tourist arrivals until 2020.

Observing overseas traveler arrivals for 2009-2015, apart small decrease in 2010, figure continually increase. This result is an effort of collaboration with other industries and diversified national and international associations with the focus to promote United Kingdom through GRAET Britain image campaign. If there is something which could put shadow on actual positive trend, it might be “Leave EU” campaign. If UK leaves EU, what could be the influence on tourism?

UK INBOUND 2009-2015

UK INBOUND 2009-2015
Source: Visit Britain

Joining in 1973, United Kingdom is one of the first nine European Union members, after more than 40 years as one of leading country of European Union, coming June 23rd UK will held referendum with the question “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?” The result of the referendum might influence the composition and the future of European Union and would surely have repercussions on finance, trade and many other issues.

If UK citizens choose to leave EU, what would be possible changes in the tourism sector?

We can imagine separating from EU would cause great effect on both UK and EU member countries. Center of Economic Performance calculated UK could suffer income falls up to 9.5% of GDP, similar result as 2008-9 financial crisis. As EU is for UK the most important trade partner, possibility is small but if it happens UK quits “EU Single Market” and “EU Custom Market”, consumer price could increase due to rise of custom duties.

Adding to this, when travelling between UK and EU member countries, with possible augmentation of security checks, procedure for immigration and passport controls for each traveler would become longer in time, whatever the transport is made by air or by sea. We can also imagine possible modifications on visa regulations for tourists going to visit UK and UK citizens going to EU.

It would also have a big influence on the overall image of European Union, which will not be synonym anymore of “union” but might become “detached”. The lack of UK’s full membership fee to EU could also have repercussion on overall economic and financial environment on EU member countries and Euro currency issue. With all mentioned, it is rational to consider there is a risk travelers from Asia, America and other overseas countries choose other destinations that EU and UK area for vacation and leisure. It is also predictable UK tourism strategy and announced targets would be modified due to new environment.