Uncharted Waters? TRAVEL IN A POST-BREXIT WORLD
Contents Brexit Foreward
What concerns you most?
Our Brexit Assurance
In the know perspective A leading travel journalist A regular Emerald Waterways guest Summary
10 12 14
Brexit Foreword Colin Downing Managing Director UK, Emerald Waterways I’ve been in business for nearly forty years and whilst that fact makes me feel ancient I’ve been lucky enough to work for some great travel and leisure businesses including - Legoland, Alton Towers, Madame Tussauds, LateRooms, Travelodge, Riviera Travel, a chain of luxury five star hotels, Goodwood, an indoor ski centre, Airtours which is now part of Thomas Cook and of course the Scenic Group. With an insatiable desire for the new, I’ve always been passionate about travel. Exploring new countries, meeting new people and learning about different cultures and heritages. In fact I consider myself very lucky that for most of my career I’ve made a living out of it. Favourite holidays in the last couple of years have included Japan, Russia, Sicily and closer to home St Ives. Since working in the industry the nicest surprise has been five star river cruising in Europe. With its lovely pace of meandering along a river, mooring in the heart of towns and cities all in a floating five star hotel with fine dining and great service – what’s not to like! Now I’m not an economist, nor am I a politician and I certainly don’t take sides. I do though find it hard to believe that the UK and the EU won’t reach a sensible deal that works for all of us. They don’t want queues at passport control, extra visa, planes that can’t land and unstable currencies as much as we don’t. Indeed like it or not we are symbiotically tied to each other. Our success is their success. With so little agreed there are many exaggerated claims about what might or might not happen. We all deserve some clarity and reassurance. Like any good business we talk regularly to our customers. Some of them tell us that they are nervous about booking their holidays for 2019. We don’t think this is right and have put our money where our mouth is… namely our Emerald Waterways Brexit Assurance. We promise that if you book a 2019 holiday with us the price you book is the price you pay – guaranteed no Brexit surcharges. This covers flights, rail, transfers, all tours and cruises, tips and gratuities, all included meals and beverages. We are also fully bonded and members of ABTA, ATOL and IATA so your money is fully protected. The Scenic Group, of which Emerald Waterways is part of, is a global business operating worldwide in many countries. This year we’ve seen our past UK guests booking with confidence more than ever before. They know us well, they know the consistent quality we deliver and they know because we only sell all-inclusive tours and cruises our promise means there are no unwelcome Brexit surprises. Enjoy your 2019 holidays with confidence – I certainly will.
What concerns you most? To find out we commissioned a pole of 2,000 adults aged 50 plus across the UK. It highlighted our post-Brexit travel worries include a potential collapse in the value of the pound, access to medical care and even the threat of planes being grounded.
78% The survey also shows that nearly eight in ten (78%) have done nothing at all to prepare for any of these potential scenarios. HS
of British holidaymakers surveyed said they were unaware of government recommendations that all passports should have at least six months left before they expire.
11% of those surveyed said they had renewed their passport
9% said they had checked their travel
insurance companyâ€™s terms and conditions.
58% Holidaymakers in the east of England and Scotland were least likely to have made any preparations, with 88% of people saying they had done nothing to prepare. The most prepared were those in Northern Ireland, where just 58% had done nothing in advance of a no-deal Brexit.
And of the 48% of those who said they had visited a European country in the past year, 26% said fears of a no-deal Brexit mean they would consider not booking a holiday to Europe in 2019. Thirty-one per cent of travellers said they would avoid booking a trip to an EU country during the end of March or early April due to uncertainty swirling around the Brexit date itself.
TRAVEL IN A POST-BREXIT WORLD
Exceptional EmeraldVALUE However, nearly half (47%) of those surveyed said they would feel much more confident about booking a trip to Europe if it was an all-inclusive trip, with the comfort of knowing that everything has been paid for being rated the biggest factor.
But British holidaymakers do not appear to be willing to give up their precious breakaways altogether. The average number of holidays taken last year by those surveyed was 1.5 â€“ a figure set to rise slightly in 2019 to 1.6. Londoners had the most wanderlust in the country, taking an average of 2.76 holidays in 2018 while those in the south-west were happiest to stay at home, taking an average of just 0.99 holidays.
The average amount of money spent on holidays in 2018 is set to increase by 7%. Most people said they plan to spend more in 2019.
Twenty-six per cent of adults are looking further afield for their holidays and are planning breaks outside the Continent to avoid post-Brexit snarl-ups.
The survey suggests that British holidaymakers are playing a waiting game before booking as politicians attempt to thrash out a Brexit deal.
20% of those surveyed will only book a
holiday to a European destination when they know what is happening with Brexit.
35% say they are actively waiting until later in 2019 before deciding whether or not to book.
A P P R OV E D Brexit fears have even impacted on whether or not British holidaymakers travel alone.
19% of adults say they would not consider
travelling alone to Europe because Brexit has dented their confidence about touring alone on the Continent.
18% said they would not consider travelling alone in Europe post-Brexit because they are unsure of visa requirements.
According to our survey British holidaymakersâ€™ worst fears about travelling abroad in Europe after Brexit are:
The strength or weakness of the pound
Rising flight prices
Access to medical care
Insurance price hikes
TRAVEL IN A POST-BREXIT WORLD
Rising accommodation prices
The uncertainty around what will happen after Brexit
Delays and travel complications
Needing a visa
35% Whether or not you will be able to enter a country
29% Planes being grounded
The Emerald Waterways Brexit Assurance The Emerald Waterways Brexit Assurance guarantees: Whatever the Brexit outcome, you won’t pay a penny more for your river cruise Exceptional EmeraldVALUE means incredible inclusions, now and always such as all on-board meals with accompanying wine, beer and soft drinks, insightful excursions and extra-special EmeraldPLUS and EmeraldACTIVE events and experiences, WiFi, tips, taxes and gratuities Multiple award-winning company, including Best River Cruise Line for Value at the Cruise Critic’s Editors Picks, three years running Our EmeraldEXPLORER loyalty club rewards returning guests Complete financial protection, provided by ABTA, ATOL and IATA
TRAVEL IN A POST-BREXIT WORLD
In the know Jane Archer Leading Travel Journalist
Jane Archer is a freelance cruise journalist, who has written about the travel industry for 30 years. Having started her career on Travel News – now Travel Weekly – Jane has worked freelance since 1990, writing for both the consumer and trade press, and has specialised in cruising for the past 20 years. Her favourite river cruises are on the Rhône, Danube and Mekong. I love river cruises. Rivers are the motorways of the past that take you right through the heart of a country. Sailing on the Danube through Budapest, for example, places you right in the middle of the city, with Buda on one side and Pest on the other. In Vienna, when the ship docks, you can be in the heart of the city in 20 minutes. And, when you sail along a river, of course you have views on either side, with castles on the hills and villages dotted along the banks, whereas on an ocean liner, once you’ve left port, you can only see… the sea. Cruise passengers today want more choice – they will no longer put up with the bog-standard itinerary and they want a choice of excursions. They want an authentic experience in the places they visit, they want to discover places for themselves – not just to visit the tourist attractions. So, if you’re visiting Vienna, there should not just be one tour, but you should have the chance to taste Sachertorte or take a backstage tour of the Opera House. A cruise is an utterly relaxing way to travel through many different countries with the cruise line taking care of everything, but not every river cruise is as relaxing as a Emerald Waterways river cruise. There are changes afoot as the date when Britain finally leaves the EU – Friday March 29th, 2019, approaches, and nobody knows what will happen if Britain leaves the EU without a deal. Everybody surmises, but nobody actually knows – and that’s the problem. We’re in uncharted territory and too many people are making predictions and causing confusion. Bookings are down in certain categories across the travel industry – but this year isn’t the problem. It’s 2019 where the real problem lies. People are nervous about holidaying in a post-Brexit Europe if no deal is reached. Will my flight still exist? Will my holiday still exist? What will happen to the value of the pound? If I am stuck somewhere, how will I get back home? Will the European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) still be valid after Brexit day? Well, there are going to be a few changes. You might have to queue at passport control with ‘The Rest of the World’ and, one thing all travellers must do is talk to their travel insurer if they are travelling around the Brexit date.
TRAVEL IN A POST-BREXIT WORLD
In the event of Britain leaving the EU without a deal then there is a possibility that premiums could go up if planes are stranded, but I think these problems will be ironed out. Planes will still fly. After all, people in Europe will want to fly here and I suspect the EHIC will still be valid – if British people are turned down for medical care, what would it mean for Europeans who need medical care in Britain? It’s unnecessary vindictiveness and it doesn’t make sense – surely we can get along? After all, a holiday is not just a holiday any more – it’s a right. I can’t see people giving up their holiday, whether it’s a short break to Barcelona or a cruise along the Mekong River. But people do have concerns – especially over a potential fall in the value of the pound after Brexit. This is where cruising comes into its own – with the current trend for holidaymakers to book an all-inclusive package. In the face of Brexit uncertainty – especially over the exchange rate – it makes sense to book an all-inclusive holiday with everything paid up front and no worries about having to change currency abroad. Travel has recently been about deconstructing the package by booking your own hotel, flight and car hire separately, however, this can be expensive and, if something goes wrong, you have no comeback. If you do book a package you do have comeback and paying up front takes away a lot of post-Brexit worries such as a plummeting pound. With Emerald Waterways, everything you could need is included in the price. All flights, transfers and even tips have been taken care of, as well as meals, daily shore excursions, drinks with lunch and dinner and Wi-Fi. You don’t have to worry about any extra costs and, most importantly, you don’t have to worry about the value of the Sterling, because everything has been paid for upfront. Cruising is a safe and calming way to see a world that can so often appear to be in turmoil.
In the know Malcolm Taylor A regular Emerald Waterways guest
Malcolm Taylor, 83, and his wife Grace, 81, of Ferring, West Sussex, have been married for 61 years. They fell in love with cruising on a trip to the Whitsunday Islands in 1998. They have since been on nearly 60 ocean and river cruises – and five with Emerald Waterways. Our very first river cruises with Emerald Waterways were on the Danube and the Rhine – and we are planning more for the future. The two in particular that we plan to go on are from Vienna to Belgrade and the other is from Budapest to Bucharest, an eight-day trip along the Danube. Wherever you go on these river cruises, you are taken to places you never think you’d like – or maybe you have heard or read about them but have never visited. We always like to get off the Star-Ship and immerse ourselves in the local culture - we’ve had dinners in the cellars of vineyards, we’ve tasted Mateus wine and Port in Portugal. So those Emerald Waterways Value Inclusions are very important to us – I would thoroughly recommend the trip to Salamanca – a beautiful city in north-western Spain. We love river cruises with Emerald Waterways because, once you’re on board, the ship is a home from home. All the staff are so friendly – we talk to all of them – and having friendly staff on board does make a huge difference. Another reason we love travelling with Emerald Waterways is that virtually everything is included – we do like that. Drinks with lunch and dinner, the trips and even the tips are included – we don’t like cruises where you are told how much to tip – so going all-inclusive is very important to us. It’s the small details that are so important – there are bicycles on board, there are umbrellas in your cabin, there are maps of the area – those things make a big difference. We are seasoned travellers and love touring so we go on a trip virtually every day of an Emerald Waterways cruise – either by coach or on foot. On a Rhine trip you could get off the ship, cycle to the next pick-up point and meet the ship there. We love to sit on the Sun Deck and look at the view, which of course is on both sides. On the Rhine there was a castle round every corner and when we went through the Riesling area we got to have a very good glass of Riesling. One of the greatest advantages of a river cruise? There are no waves. We don’t suffer from seasickness, but if you do, it’s simply not a problem on a river cruise.
TRAVEL IN A POST-BREXIT WORLD
Summary What have we learned?
It is clear to see that Britons have a love for travelling the world, particularly visiting our EU neighbours. Sadly, with the uncertainty of Brexit negotiations dominating the news agenda in the UK, many feel hesitant to commit to any holiday plans after March 2019. Concerns such as access to medical care whilst abroad and the strength of the pound have led Brits to become more cautious. One in five of those surveyed said that they will only book a holiday to a European destination when they know what is happening with Brexit. However, British holidaymakers are not ready to give up their well-earned breaks any time soon. Almost half of Brits surveyed had visited the EU in the past year but, despite the ambiguity nearly three quarters of them plan to do so again in 2019. This shows a real determination to continue to experience different cultures and surroundings as they have done for so many years. Our research shows that cruising continues to be a firm favourite, particularly amongst the over 50’s. Jane Archer, Travel Journalist, said “a cruise is an utterly relaxing way to travel through many different countries with the cruise line taking care of everything”. Having everything taken care of is a high priority amongst holiday-goers with almost half choosing the care free option of an all-inclusive break. They have the comfort of knowing that everything is organised before they arrive but that they are free to roam as they please. Archer comments that holidaymakers “want an authentic experience in the places they visit, they want to discover places for themselves – not just to visit the tourist attractions”. Travel in Europe post March 2019 doesn’t need to be feared. The best thing we can do is prepare – by monitoring government advice, doing some research into our insurance terms and conditions and ensuring that the travel company that we are booking with have an assured plan in place for whatever the outcome.
TRAVEL IN A POST-BREXIT WORLD
Colin Downing, Managing Director of Scenic Group, explains: “this year we’ve seen our past UK guests booking with confidence more than ever before. They know us well, they know the consistent quality we deliver” and this is exactly what British holiday makers should expect. Who knows what will happen to European travel after March 29th, 2019 – the date Britain finally cuts its ties with the EU. As Archer says: “Everybody surmises, but nobody actually knows – and that’s the problem. We’re in uncharted territory and too many people are making predictions and causing confusion.” What we can be certain of is that no matter the outcome, Emerald Waterways promise no surcharges, no price increases to any of their cruises, regardless of the outcome of Brexit, ensuring you can book in confidence knowing everything is taken care of.
Final checklist Preparing for your next European holiday: Travel Insurance - Make sure you have your Annual Travel Insurance and check the small print for any exclusions EHIC - Take your European Health Insurance Card with you, as it
will still likely be valid to receive free medial care while traveling in Europe
Passport - Ensure your passport has at least six months validity remaining from the date of travel Sterling/Euro Rate - Look to book an all-inclusive holiday, where everything is included and look out for price promise, like our Emerald Waterways Brexit Assurance, the price you pay is the price it will stay.
Copyright Notice ÂŠThis report was written by Scenic Group, 2018. Some rights are reserved. This report may be reproduced and no alternation can be made to the original material providing the content (e.g. text, photos, images and graphics) is attributed to Scenic Group, Travel in a Post Brexit Report 2018.