Published on Wednesday, December 28, 2016
The number of leisure passengers coming to Britain has dropped for the second consecutive month, going against predictions of a post-Brexit surge in visitors.
October figures from the British Hospitality Association Travel Monitor showed there were 450,000 fewer holiday passengers in the year to date compared with the same period in 2015.
The previous month's Travel Monitor also showed a 400,000 drop.
Industry commentators had expected a jump in overseas visitors following Britain's decision to leave the EU, when the pound significantly weakened against other currencies.
But holiday inbound travel to the UK was down 5.3% in October, and down 3.7% year to 'date.
By contrast, outbound holiday travel was up 5.2% in October, and 5.4% year to date.
Total inbound travel, which also includes business travel and those visiting friends and family, declined 5.1% year on year, but the BHA said figures were skewed by the Rugby World Cup being held in 2015.
But, looking at the wider picture, over the past three months inbound travel has dropped by 0.7% versus the same period 12 '¨months ago, but has grown 1.7% year to date.
In a further blow to the incoming tourism industry, overseas residents' spend in the UK was down 8.3% in October, and is down 1.2% year to date.
Meanwhile, UK spend overseas was up 17% in October, and 10.7% year to date.
BHA chief executive Ufi Ibrahim said it was a 'worrying trend'.
"Our analysis has shown that there is increasing pressure on the industry through lower inbound holiday passengers and higher outbound holiday passengers," she said.
"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, four out of five of which are SMEs."
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The recent insolvency of Low Cost Travel Group, one of the large players in the travel industry had a big impact on the travelers, hotels and all related players from both wholesale & retail arms. There were about 27,000 people on a holiday who had booked through the company comprised of a €200 million wholesale arm and €500 million OTA / retail arm.