Timely Tourists: UK visitors take advantage of the weak pound
August 16, 2019
2 min read
What's going on here?
The number of tourists visiting the UK is at an all-time high! The travel data firm, ForeKeys credits this rise to the weakness of the pound.
What does this mean?
Just this week, the pound reached a 31-month low against the US dollar as speculation of a no-deal Brexit in the UK has increased, (for our article on the fall in value of the pound check out our article here). The fall in the value of the pound against the yuan is perhaps the most significant figure to consider when trying to attribute a reason for the rise of tourists to the UK. Chinese tourists have seen their spending power increase by around 5% in the past three months alone. Consequently, summer flight bookings from long-haul markets are 6% higher than in the same period last year.
UK’s tourism promotion agency has been quick to take advantage of the rise in Chinese tourists, running more campaigns to promote travel in the UK during the summer. Given that the UK welcomes almost 40 million international visitors every year, capitalising on these new tourists is crucial for the UK’s tourism industry!
What's the big picture effect?
The tourism industry has been racing to keep up with forecasts that predict almost 9 million more visitors will come to the UK each year. The industry has committed to building 130,000 new hotel rooms, 75% of which will be located outside London. In addition, it has committed to creating an additional 10,000 apprenticeships in hospitality. If these projects go to plan, the UK should be on track to cope with the UK’s so-called “tourism boom”.
However, the future direction of the UK economy and post-Brexit legislation surrounding immigration control may also pose significant challenges to the UK’s tourism industry. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) on tourism reveals that European visits to the UK are up just 2% compared to the same period last year. Visit Britain claims that this slow growth of European visitors to the UK is partly due to the uncertainty of Brexit. Whether there is a genuine statistically significant correlation between the unpredictability of Brexit and this year’s flat growth levels of European visitors to Britain is highly questionable. Nonetheless, companies working in the tourism industry have started to run campaigns in Europe to persuade people that the UK will still be a lovely place to visit after it leaves the European Union.
These efforts to attract Europeans to the UK compounded with the likely continued depreciation of the pound relative to other international currencies are expected to help Britain become an even greater tourist hot spot. If these predictions are accurate, it might be time to ditch that bargain holiday to Magaluf and head to Bournemouth instead!
Report written by Lina Jeffcock
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