Travel figures still substantially down against last year, but beginning to recover

Travel figures still substantially down against last year, but beginning to recover

Following the release of today’s ONS UK Travel Statistics, please consider the following comment from Mike Saul, Head of Hospitality and Leisure, Barclays Corporate:

Visits to the UK by overseas residents:
In the three months to May 2010, overseas residents’ visits to the UK decreased by 4 per cent to 7.1 million. In the same period compared to the previous year there was a 5 per cent decrease.

Visits abroad by UK residents:
In the three months to May 2010, UK residents’ visits abroad increased by 2 per cent to 13.5 million. In the same period compared to the previous year there was a 10 per cent decrease.

“Although still substantially down on the previous year, the number of Britons travelling abroad began to recover in May, moving beyond the effects of ash clouds and strike disruption in April towards a more typical early summer season.

“However, there are still many UK travellers that continue to shun flying, whether to simply keep perceived costs down in the face of an anaemic recovery or to ensure they retain control of their travel plans in the wake of these disruptions.

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“This is good news for the UK travel and tourism industry, as holiday parks, coastal resort towns and hotels in the largest centres are reporting increased domestic demand. Hotel numbers in London and Edinburgh in particular have also benefited from ongoing sterling weakness, creating a slight improvement in international visitor numbers, although overall the market is still down.

“It is vital that if UK hotel and leisure operators want to turn recent domestic demand into something sustainable, real investment must not be put off for too long. Consumers today expect modern facilities as part of a unique offering, and will quickly vote with their feet if their holiday experience isn’t up to standard.”