HARROGATE, England -- Although uncertainty surrounding
Britain's looming exit from the European Union has dampened some Europeans'
desire to visit the U.K., a majority of Americans are saying Brexit won't
affect their travel plans.
There is some concern, however.
According to a survey by national tourism agency
VisitBritain, 59% of respondents from the country's key source markets (Europe,
the U.S. and China) said Brexit had no impact on their likelihood to visit
Among Americans, the U.K.'s second-largest source market
behind France, about 7% indicated they were less likely to visit Britain due to
Brexit. About 35% indicated they were concerned about how ongoing Brexit
negotiations might affect their travel plans.
VisitBritain CEO Sally Balcombe said they need not be
"Yes, there are some concerns about travel from Europe;
we would be disingenuous if we said there weren't," she said in an
interview. "But that's great news for you guys. So I think the message for
[the U.S. market] is: Nothing changes. The visa and the access situation
remains exactly the same as it is now, the planes are all locked in, there's no
She said that arrivals will be eased for Americans with the
upcoming expansion of the ePassport program. Starting next month, citizens of
the U.S. as well as Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore and South
Korea will be exempt from the landing card requirement, "which is going to
make access so much faster," she said.
VisitBritain's "I Travel For..." campaign has presented opportunities to showcase lesser-visited destinations. Pictured, one of the prehistoric stone circles at Machrie Moor on Scotland's Isle of Arran. Photo Credit: Eric Moya
Balcombe also said that if Brexit spurs a decline in
arrivals from Europe, VisitBritain will redouble its promotional efforts in the
Those promotional efforts would reinforce VisitBritain's "I
Travel For..." campaign. Launched last year, the campaign focuses on
appealing to travelers' motivations to visit, whether it's for food and drink,
adventure, culture or some other interest.
Balcombe said the campaign has presented opportunities to
showcase lesser-visited destinations as well as attractions beyond the country's
iconic sights. "We know we've got great castles, we've got royalty, we've
got a new royal baby, but what we want say is, 'We've got all that plus a lot
more,'" she said.
The VisitBritain survey data, released in March, were
discussed during a presentation for media attending the ExploreGB conference,
which drew about 600 buyers and suppliers to Harrogate, a city in England's
North Yorkshire county.