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Tourist numbers slow in November, say operators

17 January 2005 by

A sharp slowdown in the number of people coming to the UK brought hotels down to earth with a bump in November, according to UKinbound, formerly the British Incoming Tour Operators Association.

The association's latest figures show that, after a sparkling October when visitor numbers rose by 7.9%, the increase slowed to 2.6% in November.

But the association said the slowdown was nothing to panic about, and in fact typical of the fluctuations experienced throughout 2004.

"The disparity of results reported by members was wider than ever this month with few discernible trends other than the lack of long haul, particularly North American, visitors.

"Western Europe continues to provide volume of business but often at heavily discounted rates," it added.

The slowdown would also not affect its end-of-year forecast of 26.7 million visitors coming to the UK, up by 8.5% on the year before, it said.

For 2005, UKinbound forecast that current conditions would persist, with a weak US dollar, strong euro and high oil prices. There would also be a renewed emphasis on price.

It predicted that visitor numbers would rise by about 2% during the year, to just over 27 million.

by Nic Paton

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