VisitBritain, the national tourism agency, yesterday reported a 3% rise in inbound holiday visits in 2009, bucking the global trend. The weak pound has been a key influencer on travel in 2009 and resulted in a dramatic 25% improvement in the tourism balance of payments deficit, equivalent to £5 billion, as 15% fewer Britons have made trips abroad.New provisional figures from the International Passenger,released yesterday, show that in 2009, overseas residents made 29.6 million visits to the UK and spent just under £16.5 billion. While the number of visitors has fallen 2.4 million from last year,spending has risen by 1%.
The decline in visitor numbers meant that during 2009 Britain welcomed 29.6 million overseas visitors, the lowest number since 2004, proving that there are still challenges for the industry. Patricia Yates, VisitBritain Director of Strategy and Communications said: “There are definitely glimmers of encouragement to be found in the full year figures and the improvement in the number of visits from the US towards the end of the year. Looking forward to 2010 we are predicting a relatively small growth in numbers of inbound tourists of 1% but value increasing by 4 % as the pound remains relatively weak.”
Useful Links : www.visitbritain.co.uk