Greenwich cabinet member for leisure Miranda Williams last night stated that Brexit is causing problems for tourism in Greenwich borough.
Whilst the rate of growth has slowed, in March council documents showed an increase in hotel stays and visits.
Hotel stays in the borough were up 6.4% in 2018.
The rate of increase did fall, with total visitor numbers 1% higher than the year before when visitors brought in £1.4 billion – a rise of 5.6% from 2016.
That 1% growth in 2018 seems to lag UK data, which shows an 8.68 per cent increase in visits to UK attractions compared to the previous year.
So is the Brexit argument accurate? Whilst the ongoing saga is likely to have an impact on those looking to move to this country would it impact those visiting?
Since the vote the pound has dropped substantially against other currencies making trips to the UK cheaper. It’s also made visits abroad more expensive for those in Britain encouraging domestic holidays.
Worldwide economic problems
It’s likely that a sizable downturn in Germany’s domestic economy brought on by a steep manufacturing decline, related to the US-China trade war, has had an impact. German economic data and PMI surveys show near stagnation. Yet another survey today continued the gloom. France slumped alongside.
Italy is also struggling. All have seen economic output issues in recent quarters which corresponds closely to Chinese domestic issues and trade wars with the United States. As a strong manufacturing nation Germany in particular is extremely prone to what is happening in China and the US. France has had domestic strife from the yellow vest movement. Italy has had budget arguments with the EU.
It’s likely Brexit has played some role though far from the only one, and probably not the biggest. Yet with media coverage so poor of the continent, let alone the rest of the world, this economic downturn has hardly been extensively covered.
Will things pick up? Well, European economic data is still poor and Brexit has been pushed back again causing uncertainty.
But the pound remains favourable to overseas tourists. More attractions are being built in the borough including the Creative District in Woolwich and a 10,000 music and festival site in Greenwich which opens this summer alongside the Design District and market.
Hotel applications continue to flood in, including an 18-storey tower last week. Cautiously optimistic would be my outlook.