NEW YORK (Reuters) - British tourists Britain visiting New York awoke Friday to news of their country’s vote to leave the European Union and, in daze over the surprise outcome, had to contend immediately with effectively higher costs for everything as the pound plummeted.
“Apocalyptic,” is how South London resident Greg Rowland, 49, described the referendum results while making his way through the tumult of Times Square.
One of the biggest effects for British travelers abroad was a sharp drop in the British currency. At one point on Friday, sterling fell over 11 percent to its lowest level in over 30 years, $1.3228.
“It was a good thing I paid for my hotel yesterday morning,” said Rowland, whose region voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU.
The resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron, effective October, was difficult to comprehend while abroad, Rowland added.
Illyanna Valentina, a 25-year-old from South London, travels abroad every few months for her job as a writer and will feel the pinch from higher costs.
“It’s strange and shocking, the fact that it’s happening and I‘m here,” Valentina said, noting how she has been using cash for much of her visit to New York.
“You really can’t help but think ... how difficult life will be for the people in the UK who have either built lives there or either now feel sort of displaced,” said Valentina, the British-born daughter of a Russian immigrant.
Freya Gill, a 34-year old from Yorkshire, a region whose majority voted to leave the EU, was “shocked” by the result.
“It hasn’t directly affected us while we are on holiday, but it is worrying for the value of the pound and how long it is going to remain worth what it is,” Gill said.
Reporting by Stephanie Kelly; Editing by Daniel Bases and Cynthia Osterman