Britain’s tourism industry is bracing itself for a difficult holiday season. Tourists returning from the June 11 terrorist attack in London’s London Bridge area have been daunted by increased security at airports, as well as the news that a police officer was killed while responding to the attacks. The attacks have reportedly impacted travel between England and continental Europe, with popular itineraries like a trip to the Netherlands being shelved.
According to the BBC, the Ministry of Tourism has already reduced its forecasters’ predictions for 2018 as a result of Brexit. Tourism funds will be used instead to pay off the National Health Service if the U.K. leaves the EU without a deal.
It is a hard pill to swallow for many, especially for countries like France, where England has long been a top destination for holiday-makers. Tourist spending in the U.K. had been strong in recent years — average visitor spending per person grew from 5,400 pounds ($7,579) in 2012 to 6,400 pounds ($8,820) in 2016.
The seemingly fleeting violent episode will result in a new security buildup, a sharp change of mood and has stung much of the business sector. London’s city center has been busy with rioting holidaymakers who are complaining about lack of running water and food.
Online bookings dropped by as much as 16 percent between June 12 and 16, with bookings coming from bookings from Europe and North America all but completely cancelled. According to Travel Republic, all hotels in London and Bristol will see their overnight bookings slump by 50 percent and 82 percent, respectively, during the coming week. Others are fleeing the country. Coral Group, one of the UK’s biggest bookmakers, has removed the U.K. from its list of its top 10 most expensive destinations, the New York Times reported.
But the future will only be bleak if the people of the U.K. follow the go-to guide of cashing in on “no deal” Brexit, which follows the “hard exit” from the European Union last year.
That means the government’s decision to exit the Single Market and Customs Union without a transition period has also been seen as an act of self-evident selfishness. In response, Britain faces an economic future that looks like it might not be that bright.