Visit Atlantic City

Published on Friday, June 19, 2009

16% fall in overseas trips

New provisional figures from the International Passenger Survey show that Brits took 16% fewer overseas trips in the first four months of the year compared with 2008.

The figures, out today, showed how the economic downturn is impacting international travel.

But incoming visitors numbers to the UK were also down, falling 10% to 8.9 million visits in January to April.

Visitors spend just over £4.4 billion, which is a 1% fall before adjusting for inflation.

VisitBritain chief executive Sandie Dawe was upbeat.

“These are stronger figures than we have seen for the start of the year and further evidence that a weak pound has indeed drawn increasing numbers of visitors to Britain,” she said.

“However, sterling is already recovering against key currencies, so we cannot rest on our laurels and, as we enter another summer season, must continue to drive awareness of Britain’s appeal and why they should visit now.”

VisitBritain has downgraded its forecast for 2009 and now expects total inbound visits this year to decline to 31.4 million (a further fall of 300,000 since its previous forecast in December).

But it warned that inbound visits could decline by as much as 5%, which would deliver visitor numbers of just 30.3 million.

“2009 is certainly going to be a challenging year for the tourism industry and we are doing all we can to make sure Britain’s £114 billion visitor economy comes out the other side in as healthy as state as possible,” added Dawe.

“With industry partners eager to work with us and ready to match any public investment in marketing activity pound for pound, additional funding would enable us to spread the message even further and generate rapid returns.”

By Bev Fearis


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