Last Updated on April 27, 2016 by Mark Lavington
“Should I stay or should I go?”
The famous lyrics to a well-known Clash song may well be finally answered when Britain takes to the ballot box in the upcoming EU referendum on 23rd June. What’s been clear for all to see is that there’s two sides to every tale, and the potential impact an exit from the European Union would have on Britain’s holiday letting and tourism industry is no different.
So would Britain really be cut adrift and float off into the tourist wilderness if we decide to go ahead and BREXIT, or would we thrive as a stronger, single European Union?
The tourist industry as a whole relies on visitors; we need them to occupy our holiday letting properties, we need them to eat in our restaurants and we need them to enjoy everything our incredibly diverse nation has to offer.
A key question is therefore how many of our European cousins are currently descending upon Blighty for their pre-summer getaway? The latest statistics from Visit Britain suggest there were more visits to the UK from EU states in February than the rest of the world combined, with a year on year increase of 8%.
The broader picture is also healthy one in recent times; there were 19.66 million visits to the UK from the EU last year, up 3.18% from 2014 (Visit Britain Statistics). When they’re here they’re spending a staggering £8.2bn, also up in real terms by £62.7 million on the previous year.
But what is unclear is the impact that any exit would have on these people visiting our shores and enjoying our holiday homes.
The Liberal Democrat peer Lord Lee of Trafford is certainly someone who has strong views on the subject; he suggests we’re too reliant on EU workers and visitors to contemplate a split from the Union, a view that is substantiated and supported by a new report recently published by MPs.
Addressing fellow peers in the House of Lords he stated “with two-thirds of overseas visitors coming from the EU” and the sector being substantially supported by migrant seasonal workers, an exit would be an “absolute disaster and supreme folly”, with the risk being a departure from the current status quo would put at jeopardy ongoing levels of visitor migration.
As with most claims and counterclaims between the leave and stay campaigns these statements have been strongly rebuffed, with opposition saying that the UK tourism brand has grown large and strong enough to resist any seismic change in our relationship with Europe. Others have simply said that they don’t believe visitors will simply stop coming to Britain because our membership card is no longer there.
So should we stay or should we go?
We may get our answer on 23rd June, but either way the consequences are sure to reverberate throughout the holiday letting and tourism industry for many years to come.
Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. For more information on how a specialist insurer can help and support you if you’re buying a holiday cottage to let, please give us a call on 01237 429444.