The raft of measures included in yesterday’s Queen’s Speech had very little for the UK travel industry. The only direct measures we HS2 which is hoped will boost inbound tourism and the biggy, the EU in out referendum. The free movement laws across the EU have been a massive boost for the UK travel industry both inbound and abroad. Even the millions of EU nationals that live permenantly here in the UK book holidays through UK travel agents, travel on UK airlines and take British trains to the airport and so on.
Whether the UK as a whole will be better off in or out of the UK I don’t know. I am in my late forties and I have no memory of the UK ever not being a member. Whenever people want to hold up an example of things being done correctly they often turn to the scandinavian countries. They are very similar in size to us, similar in climate and are still independent nations. The Swedes, Danes and Norse are always portrayed as examples of liberal, environmentally friendly, constitutional monarcies and wealthy nations with a lot we could learn from.
Funnily enough all of the scandinavian nations are on the road to closer integration with the EU, or membership of the single currency. Denmark is an EU member like us, not usig the Euro like us but has joined the ERM II which means that the Danish Krone is worth a constant €7.46. Norway is the least EU friendly having rejected EU membership twice in referenda but that is the interesting thing, repeated governments have considered being a member of the EU to be in Norway’s interested s they keep putting the question to the people. Norway has joined the European Economic Area and the Council of Europe and continues to work towards closer integration with the EU. Sweden is the third largest country in the EU although it only joined in 1995 after a referendum of the people. Sweden is also on route to join the Euro. When Sweden joined the EU they were told that they must join the single currency as well. This has put the Swedish Krona in the ERM II but Sweden insists that they will require a second referendum to jointhe single currency. There is no way the Swedes will join the Euro in the middle of the Euro crisis. Finland also joined the EU in 1995 and was a founder member of Euro joining it in 1999.
Of all of those countries that we so often hold up as a model to aspire too all of them are moving towards Europe not away. I am not going to say that 100Million people cannot be wrong as twice that number thought the world was flat in Columbus’s day. We are going to hear as many arguements for as against in the next two years but it is interesting that the countries the most like the UK are all moving into not out of the heart of Europe.