Post-Brexit bounce for UK tourism as pound's fall boosts visitor numbers
Britain's tourism industry has been given a Brexit boost, with the collapse in sterling driving an increase in visitors in the month following the EU referendum.
Flight bookings to the UK rose 7.1% in the four weeks after the vote as demand from the US and Asia saw tourists splash out on trips to Britain, research from travel analytics firm ForwardKeys shows.
"The most favourable exchange rate in decades is probably the major driver for the uptake in bookings to Britain. The 10% drop in the value of sterling after the referendum sharpened interest in the UK as a holiday destination from countries around the world," the company said.
The June 23 referendum, which saw Britain vote to quit the EU, caused the pound to slump to 31-year lows against the dollar, with no sign of a recovery to pre-Brexit levels.
To compound matters, sterling dropped 2% against the dollar on Thursday following the Bank of England's decision to cut interest rates to 0.25% for the first time since 2009.
Bookings from Europe were up 5%, buoyed by the pound's fall against the euro.
Non-European arrivals were up by 8.7%, with bookings from Hong Kong rising 30.1%, the US by 9.2% and Canada up 7.4%.
ForwardKeys co-founder and chief executive Olivier Jager said: "It's now confirmed that Brexit had an immediate, positive impact on inbound tourism to the UK, which is converting into better-than-anticipated arrivals. In the months ahead, our data will show whether this post-Brexit bounce is sustained."