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Growth in overseas visitors picks up again, say tour firms

08 September 2004
Growth in overseas visitors picks up again, say tour firms

The number of overseas visitors coming to the UK was up by 6.8% in July compared with the same month in 2003, according to figures from the British Incoming Tour Operators Association (Bitoa) out today.

This represented a pick-up in visitor numbers growth following a slowdown in June.

Visitor arrivals in June were up by just 3.8%, compared with increases of more than 19% in both March and April.

Although July's figures were strong, Bitoa said the number of visitors from long-haul destinations, particularly North America, were not yet back to boom levels.

"The continuing volatility of the stock markets and weakness of the US dollar are impeding the recovery of these markets," said the association.

It added that visitor figures from Europe remained robust despite the "considerable" weakening of the euro against the pound.

Forward bookings in July increased by just 1.1%, compared with 6.5% in June and almost 20% in May.

Bitoa said this was indicative of reduced market confidence because of ongoing concerns about fuel prices and the likely impact of the steady rise in UK interest rates.

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