January Inbound figures revealed
Despite concerns in a post-Brexit economy, the tourism industry has delivered a staggering start to 2017.
Previously set records for the month of January across both visitation and spend were broken, with a staggering 2.9 million visits recorded across the month. The newly released figures from the Office for National Statistics showed annual visitor growth of 11% with a record 8.8 million visitors to the UK. This was recorded in the 3-month period to January 2017 - a 13% increase on the previous year. As a huge number of visitors entered the country, so to did their wallets, spending a record £1.5 billion throughout the first month of the year at an incredible 15% higher than the previous year.
With a wobbling economy amidst political uncertainty, 2016 saw a record number of outbound flights from China booked for the January period driven by the UK's renowned Chinese New Year celebrations. The importance of Chinese visitorship to Britain continues to be evident with Jo Leslie from Government tourism body, VisitBritain stating that:
"Chinese tourists in London spend twice as long as they do in mainland Europe, spend twice as much money and the numbers are growing at twice the rate”.
The surge in Chinese tourists saw an 81% increase year-on-year and undoublty contributed to the 19% increase in holiday visits for January at 910,000 and a 21% increase of business related visits 690,000.
Any suggestions of negative impacts to the tourism economy post-Brexit were clearly superseded with the new statistics also revealing 1% increase in spending year-on-year at £22.35 billion setting a new record for any 12-month period.