London air arrivals lagging 3.5% against last year

London air arrivals lagging 3.5% against last year

International forward air bookings to London are 3.5% behind in the first half of 2018, with a 10.1% fall projected in the second quarter, according to forward booking data.

Flight booking analysts ForwardKeys found a “significant decline” in the number of Chinese visitors to the UK capital, down 5.4% for the first half of this year. During Chinese New Year, arrivals of Chinese visitors were down 13.3% on 2017.

Data also showed that arrivals from the United States were lagging 7.2%.

At the same time, it found that other top European Union destinations – such as Paris, Rome, Amsterdam and Barcelona – look set to grow visitor arrivals.

ForwardKeys, which predicts future travel patterns by analysing 17 million booking transactions a day, said London’s decline began during the last quarter of 2017.

Its data found that terror attacks had a moderate effect when compared to the fluctuation in the British pound.

The pound’s strengthening position against the US dollar and Chinese yuan coincides with a reduced visitor outlook from those countries whose holiday spending money suffered a diminishing value in the UK.

The outlook showed that for arrivals in London from outside Europe, Australia and New Zealand lead the forward bookings field, ahead 16% and 16.8% respectively.

Arrivals from Argentina, Brazil, India, Nigeria and Russia also look “encouraging”, said ForwardKeys.

The number of Indian travellers to London is currently 5.6% ahead of last year, with April traditionally the high season for the market.

ForwardKeys chief executive and co-founder, Olivier Jager, said: “Our findings partly demonstrate the impact that currency fluctuations can have on a destination. US and Chinese visitors took advantage when sterling was weaker, now they’re reacting the other way as the pound recovers.”

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