WTM 2019: Top UK long-haul inbound travel markets revealed

The US, Australia and India have maintained their positions as the top long-haul inbound tourism markets for the UK in the past year.

Nigeria has made it back in to the top 10 countries from 12th place in 2018, replacing the UAE, while Bangladesh has made it into the top 30, replacing Chile.

Strong growth has been recorded from several countries, most notably Bangladesh, up 32.5%, China, up 19.8% and Taiwan, up 16%, according to a study for World Travel Market by travel analytics firm ForwardKeys.

Behind these changes are some strong trends, including the continued growth of China and other Asian economies, the strength of the US dollar, improvements in connectivity, recovery of commodity prices such as oil, the Argentine debt crisis and the attractiveness of cricket world cup.

The most notable risers in inbound source cities in the past year are Abuja, Delhi, Miami, and Seattle.

Notable fallers are Dubai, Buenos Aires and Mexico City, while major Australian cities, except Melbourne, have suffered a decline in bookings.

The rankings are based on flight bookings to the UK for the year to September 30.

ForwardKeys insights vice president Olivier Ponti said: “There are some general principles that explain why origin markets become stronger or weaker, including performance of the local economy, currency fluctuations, airline competition and major events.

“However, if there is one trend in the data that I find particularly interesting; it is the rise of second tier cities and it is most marked in the two leading outbound travel markets, the USA, where 16 cities feature in the top 50 list and China, where growth for the country exceeds the growth of its two biggest cities.”


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