UNWTO: Visitor number in Britain falls, contrast to worldwide increase in international arrivals

Published on : Wednesday, January 30, 2019

UK saw a decline of 5.3 % in overseas tourists and a 2.3% fall in spending contrary to the predictions that a record year in 2017 will continue into 2018.



It bucked the global travel trend where the worldwide international arrivals was up by 6% year on year. As per the United Nations World Tourism Organization(UNWTO)  the figure for the worldwide arrivals was 1.4 bn two years earlier than expected.



Due to the fall in interest among European the drop in inbound tourism to the UK happened which accounts for two-thirds of overseas visitors.



Interest in visiting the UK after the Brexit referendum had gone down by 10% in 2016 to 2018 as per a research by VisitBritain.



In 2019 the visitors from Europe will continue to fall as per Patricia Yates, director of VisitBritain. A campaign will be launched called the Friends of Europe that will assure the Europeans of receiving a warm welcome and the Britain get a good value.




Even though there was a fall in the value of pound the UK is still considered as an expensive destination and the Brexit uncertainty makes forward bookings all the more difficult.



At a global level the tourist arrival figures were the highest in the Middle East (up 10%), Africa (up 7%), Asia and the Pacific, and Europe (both up 6%).



Below the world average was the Americas up by 3% while the Central America and Caribbean saw  a fall of 2% as it was affected by hurricane Irma and Maria in the late 2017 as per the UNWTO.



Stable fuel prices, improved air links between the destinations and strong outbound travel brought about the growth mainly from the emerging markets that include Russia and the Middle East along with some smaller Asian and Arab countries.




There was a growth in outbound travel by the UK residents in spending which was up by 4% along with an increase in travel to the non-eurozone countries like Egypt and Turkey.



UNWTO further predicted that the 2019 global arrivals will go down by 3% to 4%  which will be in sync with the historic growth trends.




UNWTO secretary-general Zurab Pololikashvili said that the growth of tourism in recent years confirms that the sector is today one of the most powerful drivers of economic growth and development. It is our responsibility to manage it in a sustainable manner and translate this expansion into real benefits for all countries and, particularly, to all local communities, creating opportunities for jobs and entrepreneurship and leaving no one behind.

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