Britain’s national tourism agency VisitBritain is sending a message of reassurance and welcome across Europe as the UK gets set to leave the EU on Friday 31 January 2020. More than two-thirds of the UK’s tourism visits come from Europe and VisitBritain is sending the message that travel for event attendees travelling from the EU to the UK in 2020 does not change.
Flights, ferries, coaches and trains will continue to operate as usual and the documents that EU delegates need to travel to the UK for business events will not change until at least 2021. EU citizens will still be able to travel with ID cards, use European Health Insurance Cards (EHICs) and continue to travel to the UK for all business events without needing a visa. Travellers with a biometric passport can use the e-gates for quick and easy entry to the UK.
VisitBritain Head of Business Events Kerrin MacPhie said:
“Europe has been and always will be an incredibly important market for the UK with tourism businesses welcoming about 27 million European visits to our shores every year. We are reassuring delegates from the EU that travel to the UK will not change in 2020 and they can continue to visit with confidence. Event planners and their attendees can expect a warm welcome and with our outstanding event facilities and expertise, vibrant cities and rich heritage and culture, we will always supply delegates with a world-class experience. We have been encouraged by the strong response from our customers in Europe to our campaigns on reassurance and our messages of welcome and remain confident that planners will continue to choose the UK as a top destination for their events. With continued investment in venues in the UK including the new ICC Wales and P&J Live events complex in Aberdeen, business events continue to thrive across the UK.”
VisitBritain’s research shows that for most potential visitors from Europe, the UK’s departure from the EU does not affect their decision to travel to the UK and it is seen as a welcoming destination. It has been working with events industry partners across Europe for many months on messages of reassurance to make it clear to visitors they can still visit the UK after its departure from the EU whatever the circumstances.
The national tourism agency continues with its commitment to the welcoming international business events to the UK, through its continued presence across Europe and the recent launch of its refreshed Events are GREAT campaign highlighting to European meeting and incentive planners why the UK is a leading destination for business events. The new campaign celebrates the industry’s passion for events, showcasing the country’s business events offer including world-renowned research and expertise, global travel connections, high quality infrastructure and leading venues and incentive experiences.
This commitment is reinforced by the UK Government’s Business Events Action Plan, which outlines how the government will support the events industry in attracting and growing international business events. Announced in 2019 with the UK Tourism Sector Deal, the plan reaffirms the sector as a key part of the UK’s future economic strategy.
VisitBritain has recently released its inbound tourism forecast for 2020. It has forecast a record year for both the number of visits overall to the UK and for the amount that visitors spend. Spending by overseas visitors in the UK is predicted to reach a record £26.6 billion in 2020, a 6.6% increase on the expected spending in 2019 of £25 billion.
The number of overseas visits to the UK is forecast to rise this year to 39.7 million, the highest ever, and up 2.9% on 2019.