How Brexit Will Affect Travel to the U.K. and Europe

For Americans traveling to a European Union country, most likely, simply because British citizens will now be standing in the passport control and customs lines with them.

Right now, when arriving in Barcelona, for example, non-European Union citizens stand in one line and European Union travelers stand in another. With Brexit, the British will move to the non-European Union line, which could slow things down.

“Say a flight to Berlin has 150 U.K. citizens, 50 German citizens and 20 citizens from the U.S., Canada, Japan or wherever, the non-European Economic Area line will normally have 20 people in it, but now it will probably have 170 people in it,” said Tom Jenkins, chief executive of the European Tourism Association.

But for travel to Britain, Mr. Chacko of Travel Leaders Group said things shouldn’t change. Earlier this year, ePassport kiosks were introduced in at least 16 air and rail terminals in Britain, including Heathrow. The kiosks allow travelers from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States to stand in the same line as European Union citizens, keeping the lines moving.

The more than three year battle to implement Brexit has been bad for the British economy, but good for international travelers.

The value of the pound has fallen to about $1.30 to the dollar, down from about $1.50 to the dollar in 2016. That has made it cheaper for Americans to travel to Britain, and they’ve been taking advantage of that fact. In the first four months of 2019, bookings to Britain from the United States, China and Canada were up. In 2018, London welcomed 19.1 million international visitors, with record numbers from the United States and China, said Laura Citron, chief executive of London and Partners, the mayor’s official promotional agency for London.

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