Predictions of a post-Brexit vote surge in tourism to the UK have been dampened although outbound holiday travel is growing strongly, according to latest data from the British Hospitality Association.
The number of leisure tourists coming to the UK declined for the second consecutive month in November.
The BHA Travel Monitor reveals that inbound holiday passengers visiting the UK are in decline while the number of outbound holidaymakers is increasing.
This suggests a “worrying trend” for the domestic UK tourism and leisure industry, the BHA warned.
Some predictions claimed that the fall in the price of sterling after the EU referendum would lead to an increase in visitors to the UK.
But the BHA Travel Monitor reveals that there were 450,000 fewer holidaymakers to the UK in the year to November versus the same period in 2015. This compared with a 400,000 drop reported in the first Travel Monitor the previous month.
By contrast, outbound holiday passenger numbers continue to grow strongly, suggesting a slowdown in the UK staycation market.
A combination of lower inbound holiday numbers and higher outbound holidaymakers is likely putting pressure on consumer-facing businesses.
The Travel Monitor also highlighted a year-on-year decrease in overall UK holiday spending by overseas visitors while UK spend overseas was up more than 10%.
BHA chief executive Ufi Ibrahim said: “Our analysis has shown that there is increasing pressure on the industry through lower inbound holiday passengers and higher outbound holiday passengers.
“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.
“The BHA Travel Monitor sets a worrying trend for the short term future of the hospitality and tourism industry which, as the fourth largest sector employing 4.49 million people, is crucial to the UK economy.”
However, forecasts from VisitBritain indicate that 2017 is set to be another record year for inbound tourism to the UK.
Spending by overseas visitors is predicted to reach £24.1 billion this year, an 8% increase on spending in 2016, which is expected to reach £22.3 billion.
The number of overseas visitors to the UK is projected to rise to 38.1 million visits, up 4% on 2016 which was likely to see about 36.7 million visits.
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