New figures show that the number of international visitors entering the UK is on the decline.
According to the National Office of Statistics, there were 3.1 million visits to the UK by overseas residents in April 2019 (8 per cent fewer than in April 2018) and 3.3 million visits in May 2019 (6 per cent fewer than in May 2018).
During the total period between March and May 2019, there were 9.4 million visits from international visitors to the UK, which was 5 per cent fewer than the corresponding period a year earlier.
While there was a 10 per cent increase visits made by residents of North America, visits from European residents decreased by 6 per cent while those from ‘other countries’ (those from outside Europe and North America) decreased by 7 per cent.
Considering the reasons for visiting the UK, holiday visits decreased by 6 per cent to 3.8 million for this period, business visits decreased by 5 per cent to 2.2 million, and visits to friends and relatives decreased by 3 per cent to 2.8 million.
Unsurprisingly, this decrease in international visitors has led to a decline in the amount of money being spent by overseas nationals. Overseas residents spent £1.6 billion on visits to the UK in April 2019 (14 per cent less than in April 2018) and £2.1 billion on visits in May 2019 (1 per cent less than in May 2018).
Yet, the trend in fewer tourists entering the UK is not a one-way street. UK residents made 6.1 million visits overseas in April 2019 (4 per cent fewer than in April 2018) and 6.2 million visits in May 2019 (roughly the same as in May 2018).
During the entire March to May 2019 period, there were 17.1 million visits abroad by UK residents, which was broadly the same as the corresponding period a year earlier.
While fewer British travellers visited North America (down 21 per cent) and ‘other countries’ (down 4 per cent), there was a 2 per cent increase in the number of UK tourists heading to Europe.
The vast majority of these UK travellers were holidaymakers (11.2 million), although 4.1 million were visiting friends or family abroad.
Article published 10th September 2019