The owner of a boutique hotel in Ramsgate has reported a surge in booking enquiries following the shock result last week that Britain is to leave the EU.
James Thomas, the owner of the award-winning Royal Harbour Hotel, said that within days of the announcement, the 27-bed boutique has been inundated with enquiries from overseas visitors, attracted to the country by the fall in the value of sterling.
“We’ve always enjoy a good number guests from abroad, but have experienced nothing like this before,” said Thomas, “Although we are almost full for the summer, were also talking bookings for later in the year from Brits who will enjoy a ‘staycation’ rather than travel abroad for a European city-break.
“If repeated across Kent and around the country, this tendency is very good news indeed for local business and the UK economy as a whole,” said Thomas, who is critical of the “doom and gloom mongers” who have painted a distorted negative view of the referendum decision.
The boost shows how price sensitive the tourist market is, says Thomas, and justifies the industry’s call to lower the UK’s 20% VAT rate on hospitality – double that of France.
Craig Mather, the new head chef of the hotel’s Empire Room restaurant, says the local fisherman from whom he buys his fish, are “ecstatic” about the decision which will see an end to the Common Fisheries Policy, which has devastated the British fishing industry.
Mather, former head chef at the town’s popular Eddie Gilbert’s seafood restaurant, which is now closed, said: “We’re focused on quality, season, local produce – but the removal of trade barriers with the rest of the world will allow British businesses to renew trading relationships with Commonwealth partners – which suits a business called ‘The Empire Room’.”