UNITED KINGDOM: Tourism has begun to rebound since anti-COVID regulations were lifted, but there are increasing indications that French and German tourists are staying away due to the constraints placed on travelling with identity cards following Brexit.
EU nationals must now have a passport to enter the UK as of October 2021, and fewer than 50% of people in France and Germany currently own legitimate passports. Despite this, American tourists have returned in significant numbers, while the French and Germans have not.
Jersey’s administration has introduced a pilot programme allowing French nationals to visit the island for a single day, leading to a decrease in bookings for Oxfordshire’s popular walking tours.
Brexit has caused a decrease in passenger vehicles transported by Le Shuttle across the Channel Tunnel, with 155,000 arrivals in 2022 compared to 338,000 in 2019. This is due to the passport problem, as well as a deterioration in how French and German tourists view the UK’s status in relation to other nations.
Visit Britain and the Anholt Ipsos Nation Brand Index ranked the UK seventh and ninth, respectively, in 2016, but they dropped to eighth and then to fourteenth by 2022.
Joss Croft, the CEO of UKinbound, said that the new rule that EU citizens need passports to enter the UK is a deterrent to travel because it costs more and takes more time.
The number of schools and students travelling to the UK has decreased by 83%, costing the country £875 million and 14,500 jobs. School groups are particularly impacted, as teachers may choose to go to Ireland or Malta for English language trips. A £95 visa is required for entry into the UK for children with non-EU passports.
The chief executive of Experience Oxfordshire, Hayley Beer-Gamage, reported that reservations from French and German groups were half of what they were before the pandemic. Holiday trips from France and Germany have decreased, while those from other countries have increased.
The leaders of France and the UK declared that they would increase the chances for school visits when Rishi Sunak met with Emmanuel Macron last month. Beta Executive Director Emma English was “enthused” by the declaration, but the minister of immigration has requested more information.
The plan to implement electronic travel authorization (ETA) is causing alarm among businesses, as travellers who do not need a visa will have to pay for digital permission. Richard Toomer, executive director of the Tourism Alliance, suggests that reasonable pricing for ETAs is needed to reduce the exorbitant visa fees.