Brexit- Weak pound benefits Notting Hill Carnival and tourists

Notting Hill Carnival, the UK’s biggest street festival and prime target for European tourists, could benefit from post-Brexit currency exchange rates. 

Now in its 52nd year, the festival draws over two million people to the streets on August bank holiday.  The bad news is masqueraders and events are not ticketed. Hence, cash-strapped organisers must generate income to meet the growing 40,000 volunteers and steward’s bill, and massive police security costs.

The post-Brexit winds of change have brought some good news, however. Straight after the referendum, the pound fell to its lowest value for over 30 years, according to finance experts. In less than a few hours, it fell by between 10% and 15% against most other countries including the Euro.

This means that carnival travel and accommodation costs will be cheaper for festival-goers, especially for international students. The little extra from their Euros they spend enjoying the sights and delights of carnival could be a bonus. Especially for the carnival designers, steel bands, workers and local traders.

But don’t let this “added tourist value” distort your perception of community carnivals, indeed, of what “We ‘ting” is. 

The Notting Hill Carnival is the most famous creative response to the series of racially motivated attacks against Black people, 30 August–5 September 1958. It celebrates a Caribbean identity in Britain that welcomes all peoples and international tourists, especially those from EU countries. The overwhelming message is clear:#London’sNottingHillCarnivalisstayingopen.

*Thomas L Blair's commentaries on Black Britain and Afro-Europe feature in his w​eblog. Readers can download his Black London eMonograph series titles from Editions Blair