The number of foreign travellers into the UK fell into decline in May following the terrorist attacks in London and Manchester.
Inbound passengers dropped by two per cent year-on-year compared to a 28% rise of overseas tourists to the UK in the first four months of 2017, new data from the British Hospitality Association shows.
Visitor numbers were also down against May 2015, driven by a 10% decline in passengers from Europe.
“A factor in the decline of Europeans visiting the UK could a be a short-term impact of the recent terror attacks in London and Manchester,” the BHA said.
A decline in European visitors was partially offset by “robust” growth from North America up 35%, according to the association’s monthly Travel Monitor
“The differentiation in inbound tourism growth from the two continents could show long-haul travel holding up better in the wake of the terrorist incidents due to the longer booker period to travel,” the BHA added.
Overall UK spend by overseas residents grew 5% – likely due to growth of inbound tourism from North America.
BHA chief executive Ufi Ibrahim said: “We launched the BHA Travel Monitor so that we can provide through detailed and structured analysis of passenger data, a true picture of hospitality and tourism performance.
“Our analysis has shown that while inbound tourism has grown significantly, there may be a short-term drop due to the tragic terrorist incidents earlier this year.
“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.”