Gloomy predictions about the effect on tourism of Britain’s Brexit vote have failed to materialise, with Britain recording its all-time best monthly result for tourism to the UK.
The Brexit vote was held on 23 June 2016. The following month, July, saw 3.8 million visits, up 2% on July last year and the highest monthly number ever recorded.
Overseas visitors to the UK spent the equivalent of AUD 4.25 billion in July 2016, a 4% year-on-year increase.
Moreover, the UK share market earlier this week hit its highest level in 16 months , as the FTSE 100 Index reached 6990. The record result came as London’s financial markets responded to British Prime Minister Theresa May’s announcement that Britain will be out of the EU by April 2019.
The figure represented a sigh of relief and was the highest point reached by the index of share values of the top 100 UK companies since June 2015. It marked an increase of more than 1% on a single day’s trading.
In a radio interview, VisitBritain’s head of tourism affairs, Amy Gray, hailed the bumper tourism arrivals result. Interviewed by the ABC’s London bureau chief, Lisa Millar, Gray admitted the fall in sterling after the Brexit vote might have contributed, but she said the main reason for the result was the focus on Britain that has continued ever since the London Olympics – plus the work VisitBritain and other agencies have put in over recent months.
VisitBritain has lifted its presence in Australia and is doing so in other countries.
The record July result comes too quickly to attribute to the post-Brexit fall in sterling, but the lower level of the pound should work well for Britain in coming months..
Figures from the UK Office for National Statistics show a record July result from EU countries, Britain’s major visit-generating source, with 2.3 million visits, 3% up on last year.
The North American market also notched up strong growth for Britain, with visits up 5% to 580,000. The US is Britain’s most valuable visitor market. Australia is not far behind.
VisitBritain is currently pushing its latest global initiative, “Home of Amazing Moments”.
Written by Peter Needham