With travel arrangements in the EU remaining the same until the end of the year, both the inbound and outbound markets should expect to see a boost, says Dana Dunne, chief executive at eDreams ODIGEO.

Previous travel guidance for UK travellers had suggested there could be immediate changes to travel requirements post-Brexit including passport validity, driving licenses and healthcare, which may have preempted
a temporary disruption to short-term travel plans.

Sigh of relief

Following Abta’s latest update on travel requirements and arrangements post-Brexit, a number of travel requirements including passport validity and European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) will remain the same until
at least the end of this year. In addition, the government confirmed that there are currently no plans to require visas for travel between the UK and the rest of Europe.

This has provided greater clarity on EU travel, which means that UK travellers are now well-informed to plan their trips accordingly. Not only is the news a sigh of relief for travellers as well as an attempt to put Brexit
uncertainty to rest, it should also be recognised more broadly from within the travel industry as a vote of confidence and therefore encourage further buoyancy as we enter a new Brexit phase from January 31.

The ease of access to European countries is likely to create a spike in visits this year now that UK holidaymakers know what the requirements are for them to visit these locations. Similarly, according to VisitBritain, the value
of inbound spending by overseas visitors in the UK as well as the number of inbound visits are forecast to reach new records in 2020.

Podcast – Corona virus, Tui results and Brexit

The latest updates on Brexit guidance is expected to carry weight for both UK and inbound travellers given the strong performance of the Euro and dollar against the pound in recent years has influenced travel patterns.

In line with eDreams ODIGEO’s latest European Traveller Insights report, which analysed booking data from over 18 million customers to reveal the top travel booking trends of 2019, findings show that Porto, Portugal and
Lanzarote, Spain ranked as the 5th and 8th most popular destinations for 2020.

Optimism and momentum

Abta’s latest update is likely to bolster these stats further, especially as UK travellers will still be able to visit the EU for up to 90 days within a
180-day period without a visa, and will still be permitted to use the same gates at border checkpoints.

Following VisitBritain’s recent announcement to work with the tourism industry to launch a new campaign in the spring to ensure Europeans book trips this year, as well as inform them about the “practicalities of travel”
after Brexit, we’re pleased to see the travel industry taking positive and proactive steps to inform travellers of their requirements around the Brexit transitioning phase.

There is a real optimism and momentum in the travel industry at present fuelled by Abta’s update and VisitBritain’s campaign, which has been communicated effectively to both UK and inbound travellers.

In the longer-term, tech innovations in the travel industry means that the sector is well-equipped to tackle any challenges of Brexit by gaining a competitive advantage in the global market. AI and technology such as virtual interlining have revolutionised the way we travel and streamlined the traveller experience to provide greater choice and flexibility to improve customer satisfaction.

We expect to see OTAs continue to invest in AI and technology including the launch of new tech hubs in epicentres across Europe. The European market provides a suitable climate to leverage companies scale and tech capabilities.

While the updates that travel won’t be affected by Brexit in 2020 is promising, this has only put this topic on ice, both industry players and consumers will be looking out for further updates on this throughout the course of this year.

Businesses and consumers alike need enough time to prepare and adapt to any changes which may be made.