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BHA Travel Monitor shows dip in visitor numbers

This decline was driven by a fall in visitor numbers from North America

Inbound tourism has dipped for the first time in three months according to the British Hospitality Association (BHA).

Figures from the BHA Travel Monitor showed visitor numbers fell by 1% year-on-year, in contrast to increases of 6% and 5% seen in July and August, and to the 9% growth seen in the first half of the 2017.

This decline was driven by a fall in visitor numbers from North America, down 8% in September year  and compounding the previous fall of 8% seen in August. The decrease comes after a 28% rise in visitor numbers from North America for the first half of 2017.

Short-haul travel numbers were also down by 0.3% year-on-year, despite the previous increase in August of 8%.

Inbound holiday passenger numbers grew 1.7% year-on-year, but this is still behind the 15% rise seen in the year to date.

Overall UK spend by overseas residents is up a further 2%, but business traveller numbers continue to decline, down 18% year- on-year for September.

Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the BHA, said: “It is disheartening to see visitor numbers decline after positive growth for the previous three months. This fall has been largely driven by a reduction in passenger numbers from North America and this demonstrates, in part, the knock-on effect that this year’s tragic terror attacks have had on long haul bookings.

“The BHA travel monitor also notes that the number of business travellers to the UK again declined, falling by 18% year-on-year for the month of September. This is an important reminder to the Government of the need to recognise the priorities of business when negotiating Brexit.”

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