Inbound Tourism Visitors in Decline

Despite predictions of a post Brexit surge, the number of leisure tourists coming to the UK has declined for the second consecutive month whilst outbound holiday travel is growing strongly, according to the British Hospitality Association Travel Monitor.

The BHA Travel Monitor, launched by the British Hospitality Association last month, reveals that inbound holiday passengers visiting the UK are in decline whilst outbound holiday passengers are increasing, suggesting a worrying trend for the domestic UK tourism and leisure industry. Some predictions claimed that the fall in the price of sterling after the EU referendum would lead to an increase in visitors to the UK but the BHA Travel Monitor can today reveal this to be incorrect.

There are 450,000 fewer holiday passengers year to date versus the same period in 2015 compared with the 400,000 drop reported in the first Travel Monitor last month. By contrast, outbound holiday passenger numbers continue to grow strongly, suggesting a slowdown in the UK staycation market. A combination of lower inbound holiday passengers and higher outbound holiday passengers is likely putting pressure on consumer-facing businesses.

The BHA Travel Monitor, published monthly and quarterly, also highlights a year on year decrease in overall UK holiday spend by overseas visitors while UK spend overseas is up over 10% YTD.

Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive of the BHA said:

“We launched The BHA Travel Monitor so that we can provide, through detailed and structured analysis of passenger data, a true picture of hospitality and tourism performance. Our analysis has shown that there is increasing pressure on the industry through lower inbound holiday passengers and higher outbound holiday passengers.

“With political and economic uncertainty increasing it is more important than ever to ensure UK tourism can compete. The UK continues to have on average twice the tourism VAT rate across Europe. Alongside businesses investing in the apprenticeship levy, the national living wage and rising business rates, this signals concern for businesses in the industry, 4 out of 5 of which are SMEs.

“The BHA Travel Monitor sets a worrying trend for the short term future of the hospitality and tourism industry which, as the fourth largest sector employing 4.49 million people, is crucial to the UK economy.”

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