10 | Hospitality Today | Aug/Sept 2016 Begbies Traynor, the UK’s leading independent insolvency firm, expects the UK’s tourism industry to be one of the first sectors of the economy to benefit from the Brexit vote “fallout”, as the weak pound makes Britain an even more desirable and cost effective holiday destination for both domestic and international holidaymakers. According to Begbies Traynor’s research, British tourism businesses were already in a state of improving financial health in the three months leading up to the Brexit vote, with levels of “financial distress” falling 4% across UK-focused travel and leisure businesses. Julie Palmer, Partner at Begbies Traynor, says: “Since the Brexit vote, while most sectors of the economy have started to batten down the hatches to wait for the Brexit storm to blow over, in contrast the UK’s domestic travel and tourism industry is expected to be one of the first sectors of the economy to see tangible financial benefits from the Referendum result. “The significantly weaker pound has already made travel to Europe for British families £245 more expensive on average, which should encourage more to favour staycations on home soil. Meanwhile currency fluctuations have also made travel to the UK from Europe and the US in particular more affordable, helping incoming tourists to get a lot more bang for their buck.” International tourism also growing strongly Meanwhile, international tourist arrivals grew by 5% between January and April 2016 according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. Prospects for May-August remain positive, with around 500 million tourists expected to travel abroad in the Northern Hemisphere summer holiday peak season. Destinations worldwide received 348 million international tourists (overnight visitors) between January and April 2016, some 18 million more than the same period last year (+5.3%). This follows an increase of 4.6% in 2015, and could make 2016 the seventh consecutive year of above-average growth, with international arrivals increasing by 4% or more every year following the crisis in 2009. UNWTO forecasts international tourist arrivals to increase by 3.5% to 4.5% over the full year 2016, in line with UNWTO’s longterm projection of 3.8% growth a year until 2020. According to the UNWTO Tourism Confidence Index, prospects for May-August 2016 remain positive and in line with the performance of January-April. The Index shows confidence is highest in Europe, followed by the Americas.