Wednesday 26 October 2016

Brexit hikes Irish holiday costs by over £200 a week for British families

#Brexit Blues

Published 11/08/2016 | 00:00

Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare, Ireland. Photo: Christopher Hill/Failte Ireland
Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare, Ireland. Photo: Christopher Hill/Failte Ireland
Stock photo: Reuters

British families have an average of £204 (€239) less to spend on their holidays since Brexit, a new survey has revealed.

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The survey, undertaken by Prepaid International Forum (PIF), the UK's not-for-profit trade body for the prepaid financial services sector, found that weaker exchange rates are starting to take a toll on summer holidays.

Sterling has fallen by 17.5pc since November (from a high of €1.43 to €1.18), with a sharp dip since Britain voted to leave the European Union on June 23.

The average British holidaymaker in the EU is now £51 (€60) worse off per person per week, according to the survey - or by £204 (€239) per family of four.

British visitors are Ireland's single largest inbound tourist market, accounting for some 42pc of all overseas visitors, according to the Central Statistics Office.

In 2015, their value to Ireland's economy was around €955 million.

Stock photo: Reuters
Stock photo: Reuters

Although British arrivals are up 16pc for the first half of 2016, Tourism Ireland believes they are now paying 10pc more for Eurozone holidays.

“It is still too soon to fully understand the long-term implications for tourism to the island of Ireland, but we know that economic uncertainty can cause consumers to be more cautious with their discretionary spend, including holidays," said Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, speaking at a mid-year tourism review.

A global promotional campaign for autumn will include extensive investment Britain, he added, aiming to boost business in shoulder and off-peak seasons.

Consumer confidence

Along with a weaker sterling, there are indications that British consumer confidence has fallen since Brexit. A poll by market researchers GfK recorded the biggest slide in consumer confidence for more than 26 years in July, with the European Commission's gauge also hitting its lowest level since June 2013.

Launching its annual report earlier this year, Fáilte Ireland warned against precisely this situation - noting that Ireland's tourism recovery was largely fuelled by "benign external factors" such as favourable sterling/dollar exchange rates.

Rising prices, sterling's post-Brexit slump and a shortage of Dublin hotel room stock could now combine to seriously undermine Ireland's competitiveness.

"Heading into the autumn and winter the short break market from Britain and Northern Ireland is likely to be depressed," stated a recent report by the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation (ITIC).

"This has significant implications for Dublin, a most popular destination for leisure breaks and events," it continued. "The impact will be felt not only in hotels but in restaurants, pubs, retail and transport. Hospitality businesses in the border areas are also bracing for a downturn."

As if to rub salt into their wounds, PIF's survey found that 54pc of those suffering from weaker exchange rates on holidays were ‘Remain’ voters.

46pc of those affected had voted ‘Leave’.

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