Some of you may recall that post Brexit, September last 2016, we sent out a brief electronic survey to some selected WTA Members to gauge the mood music and establish whether there had been a significant effect on member businesses. Back then of course, it was not long since the June 23rd 2016 vote and prior to a then un-called General Election.
With overwhelming support from our members voting to support our Tourism Manifesto, drawn up prior to the General election, (8th June 2017), we decided to repeat most of the questions of September to establish whether there had been any significant changes in our members perception of the BREXIT effect. So in brief, a quick summary of our findings where we asked the following:
Amongst the most important issues facing the industry, ranked in order (not including BREXIT) - Transport infrastructure; Superfast Broadband; a reduction in regulation and a reduction in VAT. Interestingly, not so important this time was encouraging inbound tourism, this response maybe in the following Brexit Question: In your experience has the fall in the exchange rate resulted in additional overseas visitors? 50% reported a clearly identifiable or at least marginal increase.
From your own business perspective and your knowledge of others in the industry, has the vote to leave the EU bloc affected business profitability over the last six months compared to the same period in 2015/16? 30% responded that they thought profits had dropped, in September, early days of course, no discernible drop was reported at all. 60% (as against 70%) stated that investment decisions have not been affected by the vote. More surprisingly, confidence in the ability of the UK being able to negotiate a good deal for Wales has improved, in September less than 20% felt confident, this has risen to 40%, however that still leaves a majority 60% who don't feel confident!
We also took the opportunity to sound out members on some taxation issues. Do you think proposals to devolve taxation powers from UK Central Government to Wales are going to be, positive, negative or make no difference. 55% thought competitively negative, a slight fall from 60%. Do you think the proposal to introduce a new Tourism Tax would have a significant negative impact on tourism in Wales? Unsurprisingly 80% felt it would have a negative effect.
Finally, we asked what do you feel most concerned about moving forward. The response - rising costs and a slowing economy. .