Following the release of today’s ONS UK Travel Statistics, Chris Lee, Head of Travel, Barclays Commercial, said:
* Four per cent quarterly increase in inbound travellers compared with previous quarter
* Four per cent decrease in second quarter compared with same period last year
* Two per cent increase in Western European visitor numbers in second quarter compared with same period last year
* 13 per cent decrease in the number of outbound UK travellers in second quarter compared with same period last year
“Despite positive quarter on quarter figures, the underlying data suggests the overall inbound visitor market remains weak, reflecting the continued impact on international travel of the global recession. Poor weather in July, together with the revised Met Office summer forecast, has seen many UK travellers switch their plans from domestic to international. This is putting added pressure on regional hotels in particular. Outbound travel also continues to contract, albeit at a slower pace, and many respected travel industry figures I speak with predict that substantial growth in global traveller numbers will lag behind initial economic recovery.
“However, Western European travellers are still arriving in London in reasonably strong numbers for weekend breaks, while continued recovery in the UK financial services industry could well stimulate the number of business travellers from the continent and US. Domestically, holiday parks are also proving to be a bright spot. The challenge is to attract non-EU visitors for longer breaks, particularly those from economies such as China, which have been less impacted by recession and which are viewed as having considerable longer-term growth potential for UK tourism.”