New stats show that despite early, post-Brexit predictions of increased travel from international tourists, the number of leisure travellers to Britain dropped in the first nine months of 2016.
That’s according to the British Hospitality Association (BHA) Travel Monitor, which found that the number of leisure tourists dropped by almost 400,000.
At first glance, the statistics are deceiving. The number of visitors is up by 700,000. But that number is more reflective of the 4% rise in business travellers, and an 8% rise in people visiting friends or relatives than international leisure arrivals, notes the BHA.
Meanwhile, early prognostications following the Brexit referendum had experts predict that lower airfares and the falling value of the pound against the strength of the American greenback would bring US travellers across the pond in droves.
They also predicted Britain to poach travellers from its longtime rival, Paris, following the spate of terror attacks and terror threats over the last year.
Right after the Brexit results, online reservation site Hotels.com reported a 50% spike in year-over-year searches for British destinations by US travellers, making Britain one of the most popular destinations on their site.
But according to the BHA, Brexit has yet to produce tangible results.
“There has been no post European referendum tourist surge,”said BHA chief executive Ufi Ibrahim in a statement.
In another finding that confounds post-Brexit expectations, the falling pound and political instability did little to change Britons’ travelling plans. To date, analysts note a 5.5% increase in the number of outbound tourists, while in September that figure rose to 10%, compared to the same month last year. – AFP Relaxnews