Corporate travel buyers and analysts appear divided on whether UK travel demand and costs are set to fall or rise due to Brexit.

Travel buyer Rudiger Bruss, travel and mobility category manager at automotive manufacturer Continental, warned: “Costs will go down because demand will plummet.”

He told a Business Travel Show audience in London: “We already see Honda and Nissan downsizing or closing in the UK.

“I see demand dropping significantly to the UK and within the UK, and costs falling.”

Bruss compared the outlook to the period of the financial crash and recession in 2008-09 which he described as “pretty dismal”.

But Florian Storp, head of the business travel committee at German travel association the DRV, said: “The DRV is not that much concerned about the implications of Brexit.

“We don’t believe trips will decrease. There will be the same number of trips to the UK from Europe.”

Storp insisted: “The DRV believes prices will slightly increase. We don’t see a slowing of transactions between the UK and EU.”

He added: “We hear the EU and UK have agreed a lot – that a lot of things are prepared.”

Aviation analyst Tim Combs, managing director of Aviation Economics, said: “I’m intensely worried about the impact of Brexit on the overall economy. If GDP falls, travel falls.”

Yet he noted: “I’m surprised how relaxed airport managers have been about Brexit.”

Combs reported: “The number of seats between the UK and EU [this summer] has gone up by about 1.5% and on intra-EU [routes] about 1.2%, so capacity is quite constrained. That will potentially lead to higher prices.”

However, he warned: “Something is going to tip the world into recession because we have not had one for 10 years – a trade war with China or a bad Brexit might do it.”

tw3