Early enthusiasm for post-Brexit travel to the UK encouraged by the slump in the value of sterling tailed off almost immediately in the following months, new data released today (Monday) shows.
But Christmas is reviving the prospect of increased visitor numbers, according to flight data specialist ForwardKeys which monitors future travel patterns by analysing 14 million booking transactions a day.
Long-haul journeys by travellers from the UK were also hit following the referendum vote. Bookings in September dropped to minus two per cent, after showing a healthy increase earlier in the year.
Christmas again appears to be reviving the situation, according to ForwardKeys. Departures booked for November and December are six per cent above last year’s volumes.
Bookings for the Christmas period covering the last two weeks of December are showing an 18% upturn despite the falling value of the pound abroad.
Departures to the US are ahead by 25%. Significantly more British travellers are also booked to Canada, Thailand, India and Saudi Arabia.
An analysis of long-haul flight bookings to the UK made after the referendum in June shows numbers immediately jumped by up to 31% for arrivals in July.
But the increase in bookings had fallen to four per cent by August and down to just one per cent in September and October.
Bookings for Christmas are providing a much-needed boost, with November ahead two per cent and December up seven per cent on last year.
The Christmas holidays covering the last two weeks of December show the most dramatic upturn with bookings running 22% ahead of the equivalent time last year.
The US, Australia and Canada are leading the way, with the relative strength of their currencies making the UK an attractive destination. Bookings from Hong Kong are also up, as well as those from South Africa.
ForwardKeys co-founder and chief executive Olivier Jager said: “It is interesting to note that the booking jumps have been at holiday times, in the summer and for Christmas, whereas the intervening period has been flat.
“This suggests that the fall in the value of sterling, which makes Britain better value for tourists, who can choose to go anywhere for their holidays, has made a significant impact.”
VisitBritain director, Patricia Yates said: “The boost in flight bookings for Christmas particularly from our long-haul high-spending markets including China and the US looks set to build on the strong growth from inbound tourism during the summer.”
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