The impact of travel bans imposed by US President Donald Trump could “overshadow” the effect of Brexit on business travel.
The actions of the Trump administration could be more significant for corporate travel than the UK leaving the European Union, said KPMG’s Brexit expert Rohitesh Dhawan during a debate at the Business Travel Show in London.
Dhawan, who is director of KPMG’s Brexit Global Centre of Excellence, said: “A non-Brexit risk is what happens now with the new US administration and how that changes the flows of people.
“We’ve already seen a significant drop in arrivals into the US and that might overshadow any effect Brexit might have.”
Dhawan said that one of the major risks around Brexit is over the changing value of the pound against over major currencies.
“The biggest risk is the volatility of the pound – you have to factor in currency risk and how you plan for that,” he added.
He also predicted that there would be more immigration checks for UK citizens when they visit EU countries after Brexit.
“Judging by the mood music in Brussels there will be less free movement than there is now,” he said. “Hopefully sense will prevail but there will be at least another area of checks.”
Mark Cuschieri, chairman of ITM (Institute of Travel Management), told the audience that Brexit could lead to more “complexity” and also increased travel costs.
“One of the most significant potential challenges could be that it adds complexity to programmes,” he said. “Anything that changes freedom of movement across the EU adds complexity and potentially costs.
“We have to adapt to change but it’s business as usual at the moment. We want certainty rather than known unknowns. It requires everybody to work together and we have to remain positive.
“Travellers are a bit concerned about the Trump ban but it’s not had any major impact.”