Propel Morning Briefing

British hotels and restaurant benefit as foreign tourist numbers jump 11%

British hotels and restaurants are benefiting from a jump in visits from foreign tourists, who are coming to the UK to make the most of the weak pound.

More than 2.8 million overseas residents visited the UK in January, up 11% on the same month a year ago, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Holidays accounted for a large proportion of the increase in visitors, rising 22% compared with a 5% growth in business trips, above the numbers made in the three months to January 2016.

The average visitor also spent more in the UK than they did before the pound fell, splurging a total of £1.5bn, a rise of 15% on the year. This equated to an average of £536 per person visiting, up 6%.

The vast majority of visitors to Britain come from Europe – 2.2 million of the 2.8 million in January – while 240,000 came from North America and 460,000 from the rest of the world.

Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Markit, told The Telegraph: “The data from the ONS indicates the sharply weakened pound is encouraging more visits to the UK from abroad and more spend by visitors.”

The number of British residents taking trips abroad continued to rise in line with strong consumer confidence and spending levels, despite the fall in sterling. A total of 4.6 million Brits went abroad in January, up 9%.

However the average UK resident travelling abroad spent £561 in January, down almost 3% on the same month a year ago.


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