MICE industry in Asia unscathed after Brexit despite volatility in leisure travel

The MICE and business travel industry in Asia is still unaffected by Brexit

AFTER a historic vote that saw the separation of the UK from the European Union, the travel industry is preparing for a shake-up in traveler habits.

Low-cost airlines in Europe are predicted to implement higher airfares, the elimination of borderless travel might eventually hinder outbound UK travelers, and UK citizens’ right to health benefits and protection in the EU could be revoked.

On the other hand, due to the reduced value of the pound, Asian travelers are looking to the UK for holiday bargains and packages. In the last week, online travel agencies in China have reported a surge in enquiries about UK travel, according to Hong Kong Free Press.

Despite the uncertainty in leisure travel habits and the possibility of an impending financial crisis in the UK, the MICE and business travel industry is predicted to be unaffected, at least for the time being.

According to TTG Asia, leading global travel management companies informed them that their UK clients did not approach business travel and event plans with caution leading up to the referendum.

Greg O’Neil, president in Asia-Pacific for BCD Travel, told TTG Asia: “Globally, we are preparing for some volatility – but at this time we are not adjusting annual projections for volume.” However, he added that caution might be practiced for smaller and internal meetings within the UK.

Hillary King, managing director of DDK Asia told cei, “Certainly the devaluation of the pound does have an effect on outbound travel and meetings.”

“However, the upside is that groups from Asia can take advantage of lower rates, so there is the possibility that we will see more groups looking towards the UK.”

Meanwhile, Sam Robson of global travel and events firm The Appointment Group argued, “Maybe when the sterling stabilises and the costs of travel to Europe increase for British companies, Asia may see an increase in UK MICE business.”

In search for savings in these tumultuous times, MICE and corporate travelers from the UK may contribute to a spike in the next few years, seeing that costs to cross over to EU states will also increase.