UK visitor numbers up but bounce could be short-lived, warns expert

14 October 2010 by
UK visitor numbers up but bounce could be short-lived, warns expert

The number of visitors to and from the UK jumped over the summer, but experts warn the improvement could be short-lived.

Visitors to the UK from abroad increased 6% from June to August - seasonally adjusted - compared with the previous three months to 7.6 million. Associated spending grew 7% to £4.4b, according to newly published figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

In the same period the number of Brits heading abroad was up 4% to 14.2 million. However, ONS pointed out that despite the rise, trips overseas are still "relatively subdued" compared with recent years, with business travel restricted and many still opting to holiday at home.

Mike Saul, head of hospitality and leisure at Barclays Corporate, said: "The inbound travel industry continues to benefit from the pound's weakness against the euro and the dollar.

"This makes the UK, and in particular London, an attractive destination for foreign and domestic visitors with associated valuable spending at hotels and restaurants. However, anecdotal evidence points to a slower pick up outside the capital and overall the recovery of the sector continues to remain fragile."

Saul said that recent low mortgage rates had kept consumers spending on travel and leisure but this would likely change as the impact of the Government's spending cuts start to take hold in the coming months.

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By Chris Druce

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