Britain Sees Biggest Fall In Foreign Visitors Since 2009
The number of foreigners visiting Britain for tourism or work fell by the most in nearly a decade during the three months to June, showing the country could not sustain the record numbers achieved a year earlier in the wake of 2016's Brexit vote.
The pound's fall after Britain voted to leave the European Union in June 2016 made the country a cheaper holiday destination, boosting visitor numbers in the second and third quarters of 2017 - peak holiday season - to record highs.
However, new data from the Office for National Statistics show Britain has been unable to sustain these gains, with the segment of highly price-sensitive visitors possibly having been exhausted.
Foreign visitor numbers in the three months to June dropped by 7.7%, compared with a year earlier, to 10.038 million, the largest percentage drop since the depths of the global financial crisis in early 2009.
The number of North American visitors fell by 10%, European visitors dropped by 8% and there was a 6% fall in visitors from elsewhere.
Tourism, the most common reason for a visit, was down by 8%, business trips fell by 15% while visits to see friends and family rose by 6%.
Total spending by foreign visitors fell by 10.3% compared with a year earlier to £5.839 billion.
The ONS offered no reasons for the declining numbers.
The number of Britons travelling abroad barely changed at 19.868 million, and their spending held steady at £11.629 billion. More Britons visited North America at the expense of other non-European destinations.
Last year, the United Nations estimated Britain was the world's seventh-biggest international tourist destination by visitor numbers, slipping one spot in the rankings behind Mexico. The most visited country was France.