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Tourism industry confident despite Brexit, says UKinbound research

UKinbound has released its latest Business Barometer Figures, which show confidence levels across the tourism industry are on the rise.

The research, which was collected by Qa Research, found that 59% of UKinbound members stated they were confident about business in the upcoming 12 months. This was the highest rate recorded since October 2017.

The increase in confidence was influenced by an influx of forward bookings, the value of the pound, and increased interest from North American and Asian markets.

Business also signalled that the number one activity they’re expecting to be most in demand from inbound tourists are cultural experiences, followed by ‘bespoke activities’.

However, businesses also stated the industry faces a number of problems in the upcoming months, notably the uncertainty around Brexit.

Staff recruitment and retention, improving the UK’s product offering and offers for visitors, attracting visitors from new markets, and currency fluctuations were also cited as general concerns.

A review of 2018 found a few interesting statistics:

  • Throughout 2018 China and the US remained the two top growth markets
  • Less than a third (28%) of members felt that over-tourism has a negative impact on their business
  • A key challenge for many members continued to be the reduction of available EU workers

UKinbound CEO Joss Croft commented: “It is encouraging that even with the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, our latest Business Barometer shows that forward bookings are strong and that there is an increase in confidence levels amongst some of our members.

“However, we remain concerned about the Government’s proposed immigration strategy post-Brexit, which will look to restrict employing EU nationals to those only earning over £30k. 

“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.”