As the UK leaves the EU, a study by ForwardKeys, which analyses global aviation capacity, flight searches and over 17 million flight booking transactions a day, reveals that since the UK’s referendum decision on June 23rd 2016 to leave the EU, the growth in travel to the EU has slowed while growth in travel to other parts of the world has picked up.

There has been a similar reciprocal trend in the opposite direction amongst travellers from the EU, where the growth in travel to the UK has slowed since Brexit and growth in travel to other parts of the world has picked up.

Looking at the growth in UK travel to EU destinations, it has declined progressively since the UK’s referendum decision to leave the EU on June 23rd, 2016. From then until the end of the year, travel to the EU from the UK grew by 11.0% (benchmarked against the equivalent period the year before). In 2017 travel to the EU grew by 7.7%; in 2018, it grew by 0.6% and in 2019, it fell back by 1.2%.

In contrast, travel to non-EU destinations grew by 3.0% in the latter part of 2016, by 3.2% in 2017, by 5.0% in 2018 and by 0.1% in 2019.

An analysis of outbound travel from the EU shows that the UK has declined in relative popularity, as travel to the rest of the world has grown more strongly than travel to the UK since 2017. In the months immediately after the Brexit referendum until the end of 2016, EU travel to the UK grew by 6.0% and to the rest of the world it grew by 0.2%. In 2017, EU travel to the UK grew by 6.6% and to the rest of the world by 4.6%. In 2018, EU travel to the UK fell by 1.2% but it grew by 8.9% to the rest of the world and in 2019, travel to the UK grew by 2.4% but it grew by 4.8% to the rest of the world.

Olivier Ponti, VP Insights, ForwardKeys, commented: “Whilst this looks like a story of the EU and the UK beginning to tread their separate paths post Brexit, with UK and EU travellers both more excited to travel further afield than to visit each other, I suspect there are other crucial trends at play. First, is the fall in the value of the pound Sterling immediately after the referendum, which made the EU more expensive for Brits. Second is the recovery from terrorist attacks of three major holiday markets, Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey, which have won back UK holidaymakers that deserted them after a spate of violence in 2015.”

Olivier-Ponti-ForwardKeysOlivier Ponti
Vice-President Insights

olivier.ponti@forwardkeys.com