American interest in UK inbound travel surging says Travelzoo

One third of US consumers planning to travel in the next 12 months are considering the UK as their holiday destination, according to new research by Travelzoo.

The study, which involved more than 2,000 US consumers, suggests that US tourists are set to spend an extra £1 billion in the UK post-Brexit, helping create thousands of new tourism jobs.

The interest expressed in the survey is supported by data from analysts in the company’s US offices, who have found a 35% year-on-year rise in Americans searching for UK travel destinations via its US website.

This come as the UK’s affordability as a tourism destination is heightened by the value of the pound slumping to its lowest level in three decades following the June 23 UK referendum vote to leave the European Union.

However, outbound travel bookings from the UK are likely to be adversely affected by the poor value of sterling, Travelzoo warned.

UK managing director Joel Brandon-Bravo said: “With the British pound currently at a three-decade low against the US dollar, travel to the UK now offers excellent value for money for travellers from the US and many other global destinations.

“If, for example, a US traveller wanted to spend Thanksgiving in London’s gorgeous Ian Schrager-designed hotel, the Edition, the price for a basic room is £378 a night, which converts to $457. Two years ago, given the weaker exchange rate, that room would have cost over $600.”

But he added: “While the UK tourism industry looks set to benefit from the plunging value of the pound, outbound tourism from the UK is likely to suffer towards year end and as we enter 2017 as currency falls translate into higher costs of overseas holidays.

“Despite a strong performance for October half-term holidays, there is concern among Travelzoo’s partners about Christmas and February half-term bookings. Most expect to begin to see the true impact of Brexit on outbound tourism during this booking season.”

Dr Yeganeh Morakabati, associate professor at Bournemouth University, one of the leading academic institutions in tourism, said: “American visitors spent over £3 billion in the UK in 2015, even with a less favourable exchange rate between the dollar and GBP.

“A 35% increase in American tourist arrivals to the UK, would mean at least an extra £1 billion spending; this brings American visitor spending in the UK to more than a staggering £4 billion.

“With an industry [VisitBritain] report suggesting the additional tourist spending required to create one new job in the UK tourism industry is around £54,000, the surge in US arrivals could create an additional 20,000 jobs in the UK, making sure the tourism industry remains one of the UK’s top employers.”

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