Border Watching: The Impact of Brexit and COVID-19

This month we published Tourism and Brexit edited by Hazel Andrews. In this post Hazel discusses the impact that Brexit and subsequently the COVID-19 pandemic have had on the UK.

When I was initially invited to write a book about tourism and Brexit it at first felt problematic. Although the referendum on leaving the EU had taken place nearly two years before in June 2016, when Tourism and Brexit was conceived, the UK had not left the EU and a withdrawal deal had not been settled. It was hard to envision what tourism to and from the UK would be like. In addition, Brexit was subject to on-going debate not only in the UK parliament, but also in numerous news media forums and, for me, like many others, a bit of Brexit fatigue had set in. 

However, Brexit is too important an issue to be left un- or under-explored, especially from the perspective of tourism and the ramifications that a change in freedom of movement might bring to travel practices, which sit alongside understandings of how welcoming a place the UK would be as it reconfigured and repositioned itself on the global stage. The implications of the UK’s departure from the EU has consequences far beyond the country’s immediate borders.

The referendum campaign and the resulting outcome drew attention to stark divisions within the UK, not only in terms of whether to leave or remain, but also between the countries that make up the UK and further still in terms of class and regional identities, age, education and so on. Questions of identity seemed to be at the forefront of debate.

In the immediate aftermath of the referendum result things felt strange as if something palpable had changed in the atmosphere of the country. Many regarded family, friends, neighbours and colleagues in a new light, wondering which way they had voted. Couples divorced, people left the country or began to actively seek citizenship elsewhere. Trust in the UK and those around us had changed.

Those who voted leave doubtless placed trust in the campaign leaders that exiting from the EU would herald a new era characterised by easily made trade deals and control over the UK’s external borders. Since June 2016 and the ongoing debates, it seems that trust has become a keyword in the sociocultural and political landscape of the UK.

The UK officially left the EU on 31st January 2020, entering a transition period as the UK and EU began negotiations about their future relationship. The debates were far from over, but Brexit was no longer centre stage, it had been usurped by COVID-19.

COVID-19 has wrought damage around the world in many ways. It is understandable that it presently dominates much of our thinking. Among its side-effects has been the immeasurable damage to the tourism and hospitality sectors. However, in September 2020 Brexit was front page news again.  

This reemergence into the spotlight was based on the UK Government’s announcement that they would break international law with the Internal Markets Bill, thus changing elements of the Withdrawal Deal that they, led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, had themselves agreed with the EU. The move was widely condemned in the UK and EU, as well as within the United States. Questions were raised about how any other government in the world would be able to trust the UK ever again.

Campaigns to leave the EU and Johnson’s response to COVID-19 have both made appeals to a sense of national character. Among such traits is the idea of fair play, enshrined in expressions like the motto of the London Stock Exchange ‘my word is my bond’. It seems ironic then that one of the qualities that is supposed to make us who ‘we’ are could so readily be abandoned. Perhaps going forward questions will be not just based on how welcoming the UK is, but also how trustworthy.

English-Welsh Border sign on the A494 highlighting different COVID-19 rules © Hazel Andrews

Border watching has never been more important whether this be the safeguarding of the borders of our bodies against the Coronavirus and the placing of our trust in those around us to help keep each other safe, or the need to watch not only what the external borders of the UK will be after 31st December 2020, but also what the internal borders in the UK will look like in the years to come.

 

For more information about this book please see our website.

If you found this interesting, you might also like Brexit and Tourism by Derek Hall.

Writing about Brexit: The Challenge of Uncertainty

This month we published the very topical Brexit and Tourism by Derek Hall. In this post the author talks about the challenges of writing about something uncertain and ever-changing.

To many, relationships between Brexit and tourism may not at first sight seem obvious or even significant. But the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, and the issues surrounding it, have influenced, and will continue to exert profound impacts upon, tourism and related issues.

The value of sterling, availability of labour and migration, agriculture, food and catering, visa policies, taxes, travellers’ health and welfare provision, transport, accommodation, regional development, imagery and identity are just some of the more obvious tourism-related dimensions of Brexit’s direct and indirect impacts that are addressed in the book.

Continued uncertainty and the successive postponement of a withdrawal date have posed an ongoing challenge in maintaining the book’s integrity. Such uncertainty was – and continues to be – exacerbated by the absence of any coherent medium- or long-term national policy for coping with Brexit’s consequences. The outside possibility that a UK withdrawal from the EU might not actually take place was also dangled, and that as a consequence the book could prove to be a hypothetical historical document, an exercise in writing alternative history.

Critical analysis within the book has needed to look beyond the superficial rhetoric and political mendacity that has surrounded so much of the divisive Brexit debates. Acknowledging that academics have their own vested interests in such debates, sustaining objective arguments within the book has also been a challenge.

As no sovereign country has previously left the EU, the precedent of Brexit opens up unknown territory and many intriguing questions to explore. Thus, for example, one chapter of the book is devoted to examining a range of possible theoretical frameworks that can be employed to understand Brexit’s impacts on tourism.

One objective of the book is to broaden and inform debate in areas that have been neglected or even ignored in the UK. Thus the position of Gibraltar, voting 96% to remain in the EU but tied to a UK withdrawal, has barely been mentioned in UK debates. This merits a chapter, as do the likely environmental consequences of Brexit. The roles and situations of EU nationals in the UK and of UK nationals living, working and retiring in (other) EU countries also receive close attention.

Long before the 2016 EU referendum, some Eurosceptics were arguing that the Commonwealth could replace the role of the EU if the UK left the latter. Such arguments later faded away, but the role of the Commonwealth has deserved further scrutiny, not least in relation to the appalling treatment the UK government has meted out to some of the ‘Windrush generation’ regarding their UK citizenship rights.

So, while the book’s focus is placed firmly on relationships between Brexit and tourism, these are set within broad (geo)political, economic, social and environmental perspectives that help to illuminate and illustrate the central themes.

Derek Hall

derekhall@seabankscotland.co.uk

For more information on this book please see our website

A Month of Tourism Titles!

Woo-hoo! 2020 is kicking off with a month in which all the books we’re publishing are Channel View Publications titles – five tourism books published in January! This is the first time this has happened in CVP/MM history (we usually publish far more linguistics titles than we do tourism) so it’s very exciting 😊

Here are the books we’ve got coming your way this month:

Brexit and Tourism by Derek Hall

This book offers a multidisciplinary, holistic appraisal of the implications of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU) for tourism and related mobilities. It attempts to look beyond the short- to medium-term consequences of these processes for both the UK and the EU.

Tourism Economics and Policy (2nd Edition) by Larry Dwyer, Peter Forsyth and Wayne Dwyer

This revised edition incorporates new material on the sharing economy, AI, surface and marine transport, resident quality of life issues, the price mechanism, the economic contribution of tourism, and tourism and economic growth. It remains an accessible text for students, researchers and practitioners in tourism economics and policy.

Contents Tourism and Pop Culture Fandom edited by Takayoshi Yamamura and Philip Seaton

The term ‘contents tourism’ has been defined as ‘travel behaviour motivated fully or partially by narratives, characters, locations, and other creative elements of popular culture…’. This is the first book to apply the concept of contents tourism in a global context and to establish an interdisciplinary framework for contents tourism research.

Modelling and Simulations for Tourism and Hospitality by Jacopo A. Baggio and Rodolfo Baggio

This book offers an essential introduction to the use of various modelling tools and simulation techniques in the domains of tourism and hospitality. It aims to encourage students, researchers and practitioners in tourism and hospitality to enhance and enrich their toolbox in order to achieve a better and more profound knowledge of their field.

Service Encounters in Tourism, Events and Hospitality by Miriam Firth

This book offers insights into the demands made on staff in service encounters in tourism, events and hospitality roles. It hinges upon storied incidents offered by workers about which the reader can reflect and apply theoretical knowledge. Each chapter includes learning objectives, questions and summaries.

 

Continuing the excitement, a brand new textbook follows in February – Sustainable Tourism by David Fennell and Chris Cooper, which we expect to be a bestseller. We are also hoping to get a few more titles published in the second half of 2020. Some titles to watch for are Archaeology and Tourism edited by Dallen Timothy and Lina Tahan; a second edition of Dallen Timothy’s Cultural Heritage and Tourism textbook; Tourism and Earthquakes edited by Michael Hall and Girish Prayag; Gamification for Tourism edited by Feifei Xu and Dimitrios Buhalis; Sustainable Space Tourism by Annette Toivonen and Wildlife Tourism Futures edited by Giovanna Bertella. Watch this space…

Sarah

Seen something you like? Get 50% off all our titles this month using the code JANSALE at the checkout on our website!