ONS has released the IPS figures for July which gives an insight on how the summer season performed and the impact of Brexit on the UK’s 2019 tourism figures as a whole. From a macro point of view, total visitor numbers and spend for the first seven months of 2019 have been similar to last year, 21.8m visitors is exactly the same as last year with spend 1% up at £13.1bn. Visitor numbers for the core EU15 countries is down just 3%, with the decrease offset by a strong performance from the North American market, where visitor numbers are up 9% YTD and up a surprising 17% in the three months from May to July!
YTD figures are static for purpose of visit, with Holiday visits up 2%, while VFR is down 3% and Business visits down 1%, however over the last three months business visits have increased by 7%.
Outbound, despite the drop in the value of the pound, the numbers are also reasonably static, with visitor numbers down 2% YTD but spend up 1%. Of note is that the UK’s main European competitors are also experiencing low rates of growth with most achieving just a 2% increase in visitor numbers. Therefore, whilst Brexit is having an impact on certain markets and segments within them, the decrease in the value of the pound has meant that our overall performance is not significantly down on that of competitor EU countries.