For British holidaymakers in the European Union, it’s becoming a familiar refrain: they’ve been encouraged to book their holidays in the first quarter, when the pound is higher. Then they’re targeted with price tags that make it hard to justify booking closer to their winter destinations. As a result, foreign tourists have been reducing their number of visits to the UK. When they aren’t buying cars or planes, they’re traveling to cheaper places.
Air travel is the biggest indicator. British airports have been informed that the decline in passenger numbers is thought to be much bigger than expected. In July, the British Association of Airport Officials put forward a plan for the industry to cut its losses.
Statistics published by the Daily Telegraph suggest a further decline is predicted for November.
European tourist spending is down, too. In 2015, British tourists accounted for 10 percent of tourism spending in Italy, the eurozone’s most popular destination. This year, the figure has dropped to 5 percent. UK tour operators account for a quarter of all the flights into Italy from other parts of Europe.
It’s the UK’s year to shine with several popular attractions celebrating world events. Until October 1, the movie “The Iron Lady” screens on the Chiltern Sky Cinema screens in Oxford. “My Father at the Battle of Hastings” and “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Captain Nemo” screens in London at the end of the month. The Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, which was not registered as a State Visit to the UK, takes place on May 19, 2019.
Chancellor Philip Hammond is campaigning hard for the country to improve its economy as well as visitor numbers. In July, he pointed to the US, which was ranked 8th in the world, attracting nearly 147 million travelers, and suggested it was time to embrace the UK’s global personality.
He told the Daily Mail, “All the big European economies know the UK has a place in their global plans, and we need to be here because we’re the ones Europeans trust.”
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