Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The eastern side of Chatsworth Castle offers the view of its 15th century macintosh wall
The booming market for UK accommodation could be threatened by anti-Brexit tourism campaigns, a warning from experts has warned.
They believe that a post-Brexit collapse in business from Europe would be a “disaster” for the hospitality sector.
The research is being presented to an annual event in London.
At present overseas visitors represent about half of all room bookings for business properties, according to Visit Britain.
‘Too much political noise’
But Robert McFarland, from consultancy firm BD Utrecht, said these risks had not yet been reflected in the tourism market.
Robert McFarland said there were ‘no clear indicators yet’ of the Brexit impact on tourism
“There’s still a lot of uncertainty surrounding the outcome of Brexit and the impact on tourism,” Mr McFarland said.
The warning came as Visit Britain took to the stage at the British Hospitality Association (BHA) annual conference to forecast a 6% rise in visitor numbers to the UK, while the hospitality industry as a whole grew by an impressive 2.9%.
Mr McFarland said there were “no clear indicators yet” that the impact of Brexit would be felt negatively by the hospitality sector.
But he said that the government had to balance “existing risks such as terrorism and security and social unrest” with any potential short-term economic fallout that would happen from Brexit.
‘UK needs competition’
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The Palace of Westminster could lose its appeal to Europeans if the UK is out of the European Union, according to Mr McFarland
In one of the worst affected countries for the hospitality industry, Belgium, Visit Britain said overnight stays were likely to drop by 6.4% in 2019, although the markets of France and Germany would be affected as well.
“If we lose the last remaining European markets… the UK needs to build its future markets, including our regional network,” said Fabrice Bastard, a marketing manager at the Belgian region of Wallonia, which opposed the UK’s referendum decision to leave the EU.
“If the UK was outside of the European market, it would attract tourists from outside of Europe, which should provide a wave of new visitors.”
Eataly, the Italian food theme park that’s set to open in London, has called the prospect of Brexit as “extremely worrying” for the UK food and restaurant industry.
It also estimates that 85% of its British visitors are from the EU.