Foreign visitors spent less in Britain at the end of last year, despite a sharp fall in the Pound making hotels, shops and restaurants cheaper. The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show the number of visitors to the UK in the last three months of last year slumped 12.5 percent to 7.45 million.
And despite the extra spending power of the Euro and the US dollar against the Pound, the total amount of spending by foreign visitor fell 1 percent from the same quarter last year to £4 billion.Ten Euros now buys nearly £9, up from £7 last year, while ten US dollars are now worth £7 from a low of less than £5.
Visit Britain, the national tourism agency, said: “The figures illustrate the continuing challenges of maintaining Britain’s popularity as a destination in the face of the global economic downturn and increasing competition from rival destinations.
“More needs to be done to tell consumers overseas that Britain has never been more affordable.”
Tourism makes up approximately 5 percent of British economic output, and the data showed a particularly steep drop off in North American visitors despite the Pound’s sharp decline against the U.S. and Canadian dollars.
The weaker pound and slowing economy also discouraged Britons from spending while abroad, falling by 6 percent to 8.7 billion pounds in the three months to December compared with the previous three months.