One Step Beyond? Striding into a bright future or the abysse?
Well we really did it. Just like the game with Iceland I get the feeling that most people were waiting for the result to turn into the expected one at the last minute. I heard that Michael Gove had a dinner party and went to bed and had to be roused by his team to find out he was on the winning side. Whatever your view was originally there’s no turning back now and we are all strapped in for the journey wherever it is taking us so let’s look at how the Cornish holiday industry might be affected.
There were many wild predictions of doom on both sides but predictions of the pond falling have certainly come true. This may be considered a bad thing in general but there’s no doubt that weaker Sterling benefits the home tourism. A strong pound makes holidays abroad cheaper and listening to your friends going on about the six quid 3 course lunch menu with wine will have Ryanair’s web traffic going through the roof and getting a kicking for 15 Euro each for a family of 5 at an autoroute service station may see more people looking at a drive down the A303 next year!
Conversely a weak pound makes it cheaper for the Europeans to come here with the Germans in particular loving Cornwall on the back of a long running series of prime time Rosamund Pilcher adaptations. (Don’t ask I have no idea how this came about)
The big worry for all businesses is the uncertainty which can be contagious. Businesses may well hold back on new hires and new investment and this feeds into the workforce. There’s no doubt that the strength of the economy or perhaps more accurately how well off people are feeling is crucial to the tourist industry. This is particularly true in Cornwall where many holidays are second, third or fourth ones (or second third and fourth ones!) and therefore very easy to skip if you’re feeling uncertain about finances.
Regulation and Harmonisation
If the rules applied to holiday agencies across Europe were applied here then it would have a very significant impact on the industry. Requirements for qualifications to open an agency, restrictions on cash held and huge employer contributions would make it impossible to operate at current pricing levels and though there was no sign of any of these rules crossing the channel it’s nice to know that we are completely safe.
You may recall from a previous article that the reason given for taking away the biggest holiday let tax break of all (offsetting losses against other income) was that it had to apply to properties across Europe or not at all. I’d like to think that restoring this privilege will be high on the agenda of the next Prime Minister but somehow I doubt it.
Cornwall has received a great deal of money from the EU after being identified as an area in need of development, notably at newquay airport and construction of the network that brings fibre broadband directly into our building. Recent press stories are suggesting that another £500m is earmarked to come from Europe and business and Council leaders are seeking assurances that the funding will continue directly from the Uk as we move out of Europe. I would imagine they are part of a very very long queue and stood behind the NHS (which apparently doesn’t have £350m a week coming to it) and it is going to be a very long time before the position becomes clear.
I’m afraid that nobody really knows where we go from here and there’s a mixture of fear and excitement in the air but the crucial thing is that we must all accept the result and work together- keep calm and carry on!