While there are reports that the European Union could charge international travellers from Great Britain a reported GBP50 for a visa to enter other European countries following Brexit should no trade deal be agreed in the months ahead alongside a GBP7 administration fee for all arrivals, It appears that uncertainty as the Mar-2019 departure date looms is not currently impacting business trade within the country.
- A new report commissioned by hotel chain Jurys Inn shows that even despite the threat of Brexit, London remains the top destination for business traveller;
- The survey findings show positive growth for business travel with one in three respondents (34%) are planning to increase their trips over the next 12 months;
- But Jurys Inn warns the UK hospitality industry has to capitalise on its position otherwise with Brexit looming European neighbours could capitalise;
- Brexit could play a key part in London and the UK’s position within the European business travel market with warnings of potential GBP50 visa fees and GBP7 administration fees for future travel into the European Union for British citizens.
A new report commissioned by Jurys Inn, a hotel chain with city centres properties across the UK, Ireland and the Czech Republic, shows that even despite the threat of Brexit, London is the top destination for business travellers, followed by Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam and Manchester. The findings from the hotelier, a member of the Fattal Group which operates 160 hotels in 16 countries, followed a survey of over 1,100 business travellers from organisations and sectors across the UK.
While it comes as no real surprise that London was the most frequently visited UK city for business purposes the survey did also deliver positive news for other cities across the UK – Manchester was ranked ahead of popular business markets such as Frankfurt and Brussels, while Liverpool also ranked highly. In addition, the research showed that Cardiff, Aberdeen and Glasgow attract higher than average business travellers who work in the media, marketing, advertising and PR world – suggesting that these locations are fast becoming new creative hubs.
Looking at the reasons people travelled for business in the past year and simple business meetings (40%) still dominates ahead of training and development (37%), conferences (36%), meetings with colleagues in different offices (33%) and exhibitions / trade fairs (26%). It’s also noteworthy, that according to 26% of the respondents, the most common frustration with off-site meetings or conferences is when programmes or agendas were simply ‘boring’ or not of interest. Moreover, 21% of the travellers claimed that poor planning is their main grievance, followed by the selection of food and beverages on offer (13%).
Finally, the data showed that one in three respondents (34%) are planning to increase their business trips over the next 12 months, which proves that business travel continues to be a growing market.
“It is fantastic to see that our respondents consider London the most business-friendly city in Europe,” says Jason Carruthers, managing director of Jurys Inn, which operates 36 hotels under the Jurys Inn brand and 7 hotels under the Leonardo brand – 38 in the UK, four in Ireland, and one in Prague. However, he warns: “if the UK hospitality industry fails to capitalise on its position as an established international destination for companies of all shapes and sizes, our European neighbours and cities further afield, will profit from business travellers seeking alternative venues.”
Brexit could play a key part in London and the UK’s position within the European business travel market. The potential for a GBP50 charge for British citizens to enter the European Union was revealed in a document setting out a number of legal changes that need to be considered if there is no Brexit deal. It is a worst case scenario but one of a series plans for how to deal with British travellers to Europe after Brexit. This addition of Great Britain to the ‘visa required’ list would be based purely on if there is no deal at all, or a limited deal that does not cover travel. If a trade deal is agreed it is likely to include agreements on travel that would mean British passport holders could freely enter the EU without a visa, albeit there will obviously be passport checks at the outside border of the EU.
The EU could also approve a time limited access option that mean UK nationals would be exempt from visa requirement ‘for stays of no more than 90 days in any 180-day period.’ This would mean anyone who wanted to take up residence for a job might need to buy a visa but holiday makers would not. Last month Brussels also unveiled separate plans to charge a GBP7 administration fees for travellers into the EU – a fee seen as likely to hit Britain whatever the outcome on the visa situation.