Published on Monday, April 16, 2018

London international tourist arrivals forecast to plunge 10%

International forward bookings to London are lagging 3.5% behind this time last year and they're expected to fall 10.1% in the second quarter.

Analyst ForwardKeys, which analyses 17 million flight bookings a day, said there has been significant drop in bookings to London from the Chinese, who have accounted for the recent boom in visitor numbers.

Bookings from China are lagging 5.4% behind this time last year - and they fell more than 13% during Chinese New Year. Booking from the US are lagging by 7.2%.

In contrast, other top European Union destinations - Paris, Rome, Amsterdam and Barcelona - look set to grow visitor arrivals during 2018.

Looking at year-on-year comparisons, ForwardKeys said London's decline began during the last quarter of 2017.

Forwardkeys' data found that terror attacks had a 'moderate' effect, but the fluctuation of sterling was the greatest influence on forward bookings.

"The pound's strengthening position against the US dollar and Chinese yuan coincides with a reduced visitor outlook from those countries whose holiday spending money suffered a diminishing value in the UK," it said.

On a brighter note, bookings from Australia and New Zealand are currently up around 16% and arrivals from Argentina, Brazil, India, Nigeria and Russia also 'look encouraging', said ForwardKeys.

ForwardKeys CEO and co-founder, Olivier Jager, said: "Our findings partly demonstrate the impact that currency fluctuations can have on a destination. US and Chinese visitors took advantage when sterling was weaker, now they're reacting the other way as the pound recovers."

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