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Tourist numbers still growing, but pace slows

04 August 2004
Tourist numbers still growing, but pace slows

The number of overseas visitors coming to the UK was up by 3.8% in June compared with the same month in 2003, according to figures from the British Incoming Tour Operators Association (Bitoa) out today.

This represented a slowdown on the increases of more than 19% in both March and April and the 9.2% growth seen in May.

But the association said the drop was not unexpected, as June 2003 had marked the start of the "tentative recovery from the damage inflicted by the Iraq war and Sars."

But question marks remained as to whether the level of growth can be maintained for the rest of the year, Bitoa said.

With the US dollar still weak, visitor numbers from the USA were unlikely to recover further.

And the strengthening of the pound against the euro would make the UK more expensive for European visitors, which could lead to a drop-off in visitor numbers and a decline in the amount they spend.

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