The biggest effect of a Brexit on meetings would be the resulting economic uncertainty, expected to last for several years. In fact, some large events already are on hold pending the outcome, according to an article in the U.K.–based Meetpie.com. Destination management companies in the U.K. also have reported losing business because of Brexit.
An article in Conference & Incentive Travel magazine cites staff shortages in hospitality industry as a major potential impact of a Brexit because so many of these workers are immigrants. The article also mentions the free movement of people and event and exhibition goods among EU member states as a major benefit to the meetings industry, and one that the U.K. will potentially lose now that it has voted to leave the EU.
“The meetings and event industry is easily affected by economic and political uncertainty, however it will take at least two years for the separation conditions to be negotiated and no one really knows what will happen,” said Al Wynant, co-founder and CEO of Eventinterface. “I don’t think there will be an immediate impact and I foresee business as usual until there is more clarity on the process.”
Wynant said an immediate impact could be seen related to production cost for international planners hosting events and conferences in the UK related to the significant fall in the pound’s exchange rate.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is projecting UK air travel to decrease by 3 to 5 percent due to the country leaving the EU and the resulting economic downturn.
It will take some time to for the full impact of the vote to be felt. The UK has not yet formally declared the intention to leave, causing additional uncertainty. Once the declaration has been made, a two-year period of formal negotiations by the UK and EU will spell out the terms of the separation and hopefully stabilize the market. In the meantime it may be business as usual for the meeting and event industry.
The devaluing of the sterling could also make the U.K. a destination where you can maximize your dollar or euro, potentially making it a prime location for traveling to destination meetings and events.
Source: Meetings.net and EventInterface.com
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