Inbound visitor numbers continue to rise

Figures from the British Hospitality Association’s (BHA) Travel Monitor have shown inbound passenger numbers in August continued to rise. Visitor numbers rose by 5% year-on-year for the month of August, continuing from increases of 7.4% and 6% seen in June and July respectively but still below the 9% growth seen in the first half of the year.

The BHA’s Travel Monitor showed a dip in visitor numbers from North America, down by 8%, whilst short haul travel rebounded further with traveller numbers from Europe up by 8%, building on the 4% increase seen in July.

The number of UK residents travelling abroad for their holidays decreased by 3%, following the same drop of 3% seen in July. Outbound holiday passenger numbers are now only up 3% for the whole of 2017, a weak level of growth compared to the trend seen at the start of the year.

Overall UK spend by overseas residents is up 3.2%, but this comes at a slower rate compared to the growth in visitor numbers. Holiday visitors to the UK are up by 8.4%, but business traveller numbers continue to decline, down by 1.3% year- on-year for August

Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive of the British Hospitality Association said:
“It is positive to see a sustained rise in visitor numbers to the UK and this is testament to the hard work and dedication of hospitality and tourism businesses across the entire country who provide a first-class experience for guests from all over the world.

“However, businesses are still faced with an unforgiving commercial environment compared to the start of 2017. Our latest Travel Monitor shows that passenger numbers from North America have taken a dip, down by 8%. This could be down to the delayed effects of terrorist attacks at the start of the year on long term bookings. It is heartening, though, to see that European travellers are regaining confidence in the UK as a holiday destination, with visitor numbers up 8% year-on-year, following the 4% increase seen in July.

“The BHA travel monitor also notes that the number of business travellers to the UK again declined, falling by a further 1.3 %. It is crucial for the entire British economy – not just the hospitality industry – that the Government negotiates a transition deal in the Brexit talks that will bring security and certainty for businesspeople and tourists alike.”

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