ONS stats show rise in overseas and inbound travel

ONS stats show rise in overseas and inbound travel

Trips taken abroad by Britons rose by 6% to 14.1 million in the three months to April over the previous quarter.

The number was up by a more modest 1% when compared with the three months to April 2011.

New ONS figures show that the total number of visits abroad by UK residents, not seasonally adjusted, remained broadly the same during the 12 months to April at 56.1 million.

Trips to other parts of Europe were up by 1% to 43.5 million; but visits to North America dropped by 4% to 3.5 million. Travel to other parts of the world was down by 2% to 9.1 million.

Holiday visits declined by 2% to 36 million while business trips rose by 3% to 6.9 million. Visiting friends or relatives increased 4% to 11.6 million trips for other reasons decreased 7% to 1.5 million.

Inbound numbers for April were up by 10% to a record 2.9 million for the month, with spending of £1.4 billion.

Within this, holiday travel accounted for 1.2 million arrivals. This gives a total of 3.3 million holiday trips to the UK so far this year, 7% more than at the same point in 2011.

VisitBritain strategy and communications director Patrician Yates said: “The first few months of the year are traditionally a quiet period for visits to the UK, so to see a record month like this with an increase of 10% in both visits and spend is encouraging.

“Our £25 million GREAT image campaign has been running in key inbound markets around the world since February. That aims to entice a greater number of people to choose Britain for their next holiday and with the London 2012 Games on our horizons, we hope that these positive April figures are an early indication that our message is getting through.”

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