Record inbound tourism in November

27 January 2017 by
Record inbound tourism in November

Inbound visits and spend to the UK hit record levels in November, amid further signs that a weakened pound post Brexit is proving a shot in the arm for tourism.

That's according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics, shared by VisitBritain.

There were 3.1 million inbound visits to the UK in November 2016, up 17% on the same month in 2015, according to the figures. Overseas visitors spent £1.7b, up 14%.

The increase came despite relatively strong comparatives, after inbound tourism to the UK in November 2015 climbed 1% on the same period in 2014, despite the fact that terrorist attacks on 13 November 2015 in Paris that left 130 people dead dented the appetite for visits to European destinations.

From January to November 2016 the UK saw 34.5 million visits, up 3% on the same period in 2015 with visitors spending £20.4b, up 1%.

Strong growth was seen in November last year from North America with 300,000 visits, up 28% compared to November 2015.

It brings total visits from North America for January to November 2016 to 4 million, up 6% on 2015.

There were 23.3 million visits from the EU for January to November 2016, up 4% on the same period in 2015.

November 2014-2016, with growth on previous year:

November 2014: 2.63 million visits (+7% on Nov 2013)
November 2015: 2.65 million visits (+1% on Nov 2014)
November 2016: 3.10 million visits (+17% on Nov 2015)

Tourism minister Tracey Crouch said: "Our tourism industry is booming as Britain cements its reputation as one of the world's must-visit destinations. I am particularly pleased that there are an increasing number of visits from important markets like the US, with tourism making a significant contribution to our economy. We are committed to helping the sector grow even further, so the benefits are spread far and wide across the country."

VisitBritain chief executive Sally Balcombe said: "These figures demonstrate our tourism industry's crucial role in showing that our nation is welcoming and open for business, and its increasing importance as a driver of economic growth.

"We are seeing success in growing tourism from our high value markets including the US and we are competing strongly in Europe. We are seizing the opportunity to build on this, promoting a message of value, welcome and showcasing the amazing experiences that visitors can only get here."

Inbound tourism forecast for 2017

VisitBritain's forecast for 2017 shows that overall inbound tourism growth is set to continue with 38.1 million visits, up 4% on 2016 which is likely to see about 36.7 million visits by year end.

Spending by overseas visitors is predicted to reach £24.1b in 2017, an 8% increase on spending last year which is expected to top out at £22.3b.

Latest flight booking data shows that flight bookings to the UK are up 10% for January to March compared to the same period last year.

With Chinese New Year starting from Saturday 28 January, the latest flight booking data shows that bookings from China to the UK were up 81% for January 2017 compared to the same month last year, and up 43% for January to March this year.

China is the world's most valuable outbound tourism market and VisitBritain has announced partnerships with Hainan Airlines and Alitrip, Alibaba Group's tourism arm, to drive growth in visits from China.

British Tourist Authority and VisitEngland appoint new chairs >>

VisitBritain announces partnership to attract more tourism from China >>

Highest ever August figures for overseas visit to UK >>

TagsTourism and Trends
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