Propel Morning Briefing

Inbound visitor numbers fall for first time in three months

Total visitor numbers to the UK fell for the first time in three months in September, according to the latest British Hospitality Association (BHA) Travel Monitor.

The data showed inbound passenger numbers fell 1% year-on-year, in contrast to increases of 6% and 5% seen in July and August, and to the 9% growth seen in the first half of 2017.

The decline was driven by a sharp fall in visitor numbers from North America, down 8% in September year-on-year and compounding the previous fall of 8% seen in August.

These falls come after a 28% rise in visitor numbers from North America for the first half of 2017. Short haul travel numbers also declined by 0.3% year-on-year, despite the previous increase in August of 8%.

Inbound holiday passenger numbers grew 1.7% year-on-year, but this still lags behind the 15% rise seen in the year to date.

Overall UK spend by overseas residents is up a further 2%, but business traveller numbers continued to decline, down 18% year-on-year for September.

BHA chief executive Ufi Ibrahim said: “It is disheartening to see visitor numbers decline after positive growth for the previous three months. This fall has been largely driven by a reduction in passenger numbers from North America and this demonstrates, in part, the knock-on effect that this year’s tragic terror attacks have had on long haul bookings. The BHA Travel Monitor also notes the number of business travellers to the UK again declined, falling by 18% year-on-year for the month of September. This is an important reminder to the government of the need to recognise the priorities of business when negotiating Brexit.”

 

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