Brexit decision may cut flow of much-needed British tourists

AUSTRALIA'S tourism sector is in for a rocky ride as the economic impact of the Brexit decision threatens to cut the number of British travellers bound Down Under.

Griffith University economics professor Fabrizio Carmignani told ARM Newsdesk the British pound's fall on the back of that country's vote to leave the European Union could make trips to Australia too costly for many Brits.

The UK is one of Australia's key tourism sectors, with 704,300 of its residents visiting here in the 12 months to April 30.

That was a 5.7% increase on the previous 12 months.

Tourism Australia figures also show that in the year to March 31, UK visitors spent $3.9 billion while in Australia.

That spend was set to nose-dive, Prof Carmignani said.

"There was a very big devaluation of the pound already on Friday (when the vote results were released)," he said.

"There will be a rebound on Monday, but in time the pound will progressively devaluate.

"The implication of that is it will be more expensive for the British tourist to come to Australia.

"We have a large number of British tourists coming at the moment - some stay for a short period of time and some stay for several months.

"For all these people it will be much more expensive to come to Australia and they might decide to go elsewhere."

Prof Carmignani said federal and state governments and tourism bodies would need to look at attracting visitors from other markets.

A Tourism Australia spokesman said it could be two years before we felt the impact.

"It's too early to say particularly given Britain's exit from the European Union does not come into effect for two years," the spokesman said.

"Until we start to see the full impact on the economy there, it's impossible to really predict any knock-on effect on outbound travel to Australia or any other overseas destination."

Prof Carmignani said there could also be implications for people drawing British pensions, and the fluctuating share market could impact share-based superannuation portfolios.