According to the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of visitors to the UK, increased in June with up to 7% from the same month last year. This translates as 3.5 million people visiting the country in the first month of the summer.
The increase may be a bit surprising, since it comes right after the terror attacks in London and Manchester. However, it can be explained due to the weaker value of the pound, since the Brexit referendum vote. The pound experienced a 16% drop against the euro and approximately 13% against the U.S. dollar, meaning that the UK is now a much cheaper destination than it used to be.
Mainland Europeans and North Americans led the increase in visitors. Howard Archer, chief economic adviser to the forecasting group EY Item Club, said that the 35% increase in visitors from North America were “clearly buoyed by the particularly sharp drop of the pound against the dollar since mid-2017”.
While in the UK, the visitors spent £2.2 bn, approximately 2% more than the same time last year, according to the data provided by the ONS.
The best month so far, this year, was April, with 3.7 million visitors coming to the UK, a 19% increase from the same month last year. Moreover, from April to June, the number of overseas visitors rose to 10.75 million, representing an 8% hike from a year earlier.
Important to note that while holiday visits increased by 20% over the specified three months, business visits decreased with 4%. The latter can be attributed to the Brexit scandal, which might have led some foreign companies to invest less in the UK or even divest.
According to VisitBritain director Patricia Yates:
Tourism is one of Britain’s most valuable export industries and this continued growth demonstrates the industry’s increasing importance as a key driver of economic growth across our nations and regions.