Britain made a landmark decision to leave the EU today. The decision has far-reaching implications that extend to travel and mobility within and without of the UK.
Here’s a look at what the decision means for travelers:
What it Means for Britons:
David Cameron, the recently resigned Prime Minister of England, reassured the 1.2 million British expats living within the EU, and the 3.3 million Europeans living in the UK that “There will be no initial change in the way our people can travel.”
Because of the two year time frame given for the UK to negotiate its exit from the EU, it’s unlikely that there will be an immediate effect on travel. In a statement made by the UK’s largest travel association, ABTA, UK residents were assured that they were free to move between the UK and the EU as usual, and that their European Health Insurance Cards remain valid.
“People due to travel this summer will see little changes to their holiday,” ABTA stated.
While going in and out won’t be an issue for UK citizens, the drop in value of the British pound immediately falling the news will. Many holidaymakers, in anticipation of the decision to leave decided to exchange money for their holiday ahead of time. The pound has currently fallen to 1.37 against the dollar, which means that for the time being, Brits will get less for their money abroad.
And new travel requirements for UK citizens going to EU countries will have to be renegotiated. If visas are required, travel will be more costly and lengthy for Britons than it was when they remained.
What it Means for Everyone Else:
Those traveling to the UK may have some unexpected benefits of their decision to leave, though will mostly be unaffected.
The biggest benefit of deciding to travel to the UK now, is that visitors will see more bang for their buck. The fall in the pound means that the dollar and the euro is strong there, and, though it likely won’t last forever, it will increase tourist spending power.
Ultimately, the effects of the Brexit are mostly unknown.
However, traveling to other countries within the EU will be more difficult for travelers and UK residents alike. The exit will likely lead to higher air fares and fewer flight options between the EU and the UK as regulations change and competition declines. Customs and immigration lines will likely lengthen as well, as Britons switch to non-EU processing lines.
The only certainty amid these first couple of days is that the next two years will introduce new political measures that aim to redefine the new relationship between the UK and EU that will emerge from the Brexit decision.