UK-bound flights see post referendum boost

UK-bound flights see post referendum boost

Flight bookings to the UK were boosted by 7.1% after the Brexit vote, new industry data reveals.

The post-EU referendum bounce is also lifting bookings through to the autumn.

Air passenger arrivals have seen an uplift during the last month, driven by demand coming from the US and Asia Pacific despite worldwide economic uncertainty, terrorism and air traffic disruption.

Flight bookings were running 2.8% behind the same period last year in the 28 days before the June 23 referendum vote.

In the month after the Brexit decision, they were up 4.3%, according to the latest data from ForwardKeys which monitors future travel patterns by analysing 14 million daily reservation transactions.

Bookings from Europe were up 5%, buoyed by the pound’s fall against the euro following the referendum. Non-European arrivals were up by a greater margin, increasing 8.7%.

A 10% drop in the value of sterling after the referendum sharpened interest in the UK as a holiday destination from countries around the world.

Bookings from Hong Kong rose 30.1%, the US was up 9.2%, Canada was up 7.4% and the United Arab Emirates was up 7%.

The most favourable exchange rate in decades is probably the major driver for the uptake in bookings to Britain.

During the analysed period, ForwardKeys identified “positive” and “passive” reactions from source destinations after the Brexit referendum.

The number of bookings from the US and Canada increased considerably, likely related to good economic growth and depreciation of sterling.

While Chinese bookings have been steady before and after June 23, Hong Kong showed a substantial increase. This difference could possibly be explained by the need of a visa by Chinese travellers while Hong Kong residents do not, in addition to the strong ties the peninsula holds with the UK.

ForwardKeys co-founder and chief executive, Olivier Jager, said: “It’s now confirmed that Brexit had an immediate, positive impact on inbound tourism to the UK, which is converting into better than anticipated arrivals.

“In the months ahead, our data will show whether this post-Brexit bounce is sustained.”


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