British and European hospitality organisations rushed to assess a new reality this morning, as the UK voted to leave the European Union.
With the final results now declared, some 52 per cent of voters chose to leave the EU.
Better than expected showings for the Leave campaign in most areas of England and Wales outweighing strong Remain showings in London, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The immediate response was market turmoil, with the pound hitting its lowest level since 1985 and S&P confirming that the UK is likely to lose its AAA credit rating.
British holiday makers heading abroad this summer can expect costs to rise this summer.
Heathrow urged calm, stating any change would take time.
“Anyone travelling through the airport will find it operating normally with no changes to security and immigration,” a spokesman explained.
Others remained upbeat, urging a ‘wait and see’ attitude to what is likely to be a period of uncertainty.
John Brennan, chief executive of hotel investment giant Amaris Hospitality, said: “While the negotiation period could have an effect on the markets overall in the short-term, the hospitality sector is well-placed to remain robust during this period.
“International tourism is one of the most rapidly growing sectors of the UK economy as disposable incomes increase around the world.
“With sterling weakening on this news, the rest of the world will get more pounds for their currency, making the UK a cheaper destination to visit, and conversely making it expensive for Britons going abroad.
The Scottish National Party has indicated it will renew calls for another independence referendum, while Sinn Fein this morning relaunched calls for a united Ireland.
The question of when Article 50 will be triggered – to begin the formal two year proceedings for Britain’s exit from the EU – is now at the forefront of people’s minds.
Prime minister David Cameron, who will face calls over his own future, will need to decide on the process for Brexit after discussions with people on both sides of the debate.
UKinbound argued the government must focus on securing the best possible trade deal for the inbound sector; an industry which contributes over £22 billion per annum to the UK economy.
UKinbound chief executive, Deirdre Wells, commented: “UKinbound feels the decision to leave the EU is disappointing and inevitably will have far-reaching consequences for our members.
“However, we have proved time and again that we are a resilient industry and the Government must now work hard to secure a deal which supports our vibrant industry, which relies on the European Union for two-thirds of its business.
“The priority must now be to ensure that our members have the best possible environment in which to grow their business and to support them in welcoming visitors from all corners of the globe.”