EU Referendum

EU referendum: Do Europeans still feel welcome in the UK?

Dover beach
Image caption Dover is the entry point for many European travellers to the UK

The UK has decided to leave the European Union, yet it will be some time before the consequences of this decision are clear. Against the backdrop of uncertainty, ferries continue to arrive at the Port of Dover bringing travellers from abroad.

It was an aggressive referendum campaign which saw the topic of immigration fiercely debated amid allegations of xenophobia and racism.

On holiday to the UK in the aftermath of all this, Jani and Mari Parkkali from Finland could be forgiven for wondering if they would feel tension.

"We were a little worried there might be a problem with the local people but it has been fine," Jani said, sounding relieved.

"We have been made to feel very welcome - the people have been very friendly."

Image caption Mari Parkkali (left) said Finnish people were cautious travellers and this could have an impact

They were adamant the referendum result would not deter them from future trips to the UK but Mari was not sure the majority of Finnish people would feel the same.

"Finnish people are very cautious," she said.

"After this result, I think, when weighing up where to go they might well choose somewhere else now, such as Germany over England."

Brexit sympathy

Image caption Enrique Melia from Barcelona said he sympathised with the British vote to leave the EU

Enrique Melia from Barcelona is a frequent visitor with homes in several European countries, including the UK.

He said freedom of movement was very important to him but he sympathised with British people who want to leave the EU.

"I would too. If I was the Spanish government I would get out now - too much bureaucracy, people you haven't elected telling you what to do. That's stupid." he said.

He too said he felt welcome, although he added: "There is some xenophobia. I have suffered it. There is a bit of racism in England, yes."

But he was defiant: "It doesn't worry me. I don't care. I like the British people.

"In Spain we have twice as much immigration but we don't even talk about it. We have two million of you and you have 200,000 of us here. So who is the immigrant?"

Increasing the hurdles

Flora Auth and Zoltan Palfy, from Hungary, have been in the UK since September.

Ms Auth said if there were any negative feelings towards foreigners they had not felt it at all.

"People have been so kind to us," she said.

Image caption Zoltan Palfy and Flora Auth felt travelling to the UK would not be problematic

Mr Palfy said he doubted Britain's departure from the EU would put other Europeans off.

"It will just be like visiting Switzerland or Norway or anywhere else where you have to ask permission to visit or stay. It won't be a problem," he said.

However, professor Richard Tol of Sussex University said travellers simply "don't understand the consequences".

"It will hit them once the regulations change," he said.

"People are afraid of filling out forms. By increasing the hurdles that people must jump through to get here, they will simply choose to go somewhere else.

"That will definitely have a negative impact on numbers," he predicted.

He said the fallen pound would make the UK cheaper and more attractive, but labour costs would go up as low-skilled immigrants are "thrown out", increasing the cost of holidays.

In a statement, the British tourist authority Visit Britain unsurprisingly offered a "warm welcome to our many European visitors".

It said it was anticipating a strong summer holiday season.