A ‘no deal’ Brexit would cause a 7% drop in UK outbound trips in 2020 and an 8% decline in 2021, according to new research.

This equates to approximately 8 million fewer outbound trips by UK residents in 2021, compared to baseline expectations, the European Travel Commission warned.

More significantly, leaving the EU without a deal would have a “permanent downward effect” on UK outbound travel volumes.

“By 2023, estimated growth is marginally higher than under the baseline, but with lower GDP levels and a still-weak pound, a rebound in UK outbound travel will remain elusive in the long term.”

Such a scenario “is sure to cause concern amongst many destinations across Europe”, with Spain suffering the heaviest impact.

The impact of the reduced UK outbound travel will not be experienced uniformly across European destinations, according to the ETC analysis.

“Spain is likely to be the most heavily impacted per traveller volumes with an estimated 1.3 million fewer UK arrivals to the country in 2021 relative to baseline projections, plus a knock-on effect of around 300,000 fewer visitors due to slower growth elsewhere in Europe.

“This follows an impact of around 0.9 million fewer visitors from the UK in 2020, leading to a total reduction of more than 2 million trips from the UK over the two years.

“In percentage terms Ireland is the most heavily impacted with arrivals 5% lower in 2021 relative to the baseline forecasts and 3.5% lower in 2020; almost two-thirds of this can be attributed to lower arrivals from the UK.”