March IPS figures show that inbound tourism is off to a strong start this year with revenue up 11% over the first quarter of 2016, with visitor number up 7%. The main area of increase is in Holiday visits to the UK (up 18%) which shows how overseas visitors are taking advantage of the drop in the value of the pound although, business travel continues to struggle.
In terms of markets, it is worth noting that it is the long-haul markets doing the best (North America is up 17% and RoW is up 18% - which are predicted by the econometric modelling as a 15% price saving is more significant if you are spending more on your visit to the UK.
One interesting factor is that despite the fall in the value of the pound, outbound tourism continues to grow by 3% in terms of visitor numbers. From IPS Report:
Visits: The UK received 2.9 million overseas visits in March, 11% higher than last year and setting a new March record. There have been 8.1 million visits so far in 2017, up 7% on the same period in 2016 and setting a new record. In the last 12 month period, visits are tracking 4% ahead of the period before, at 38.1 million visits and setting a new record for highest volume of visits in any 12 month period.
Spending:March spending is up 14% on last year at £1.51 billion, and setting a new March record. So far this year, visitors have spent £4.18 billion, setting a new record for the first three months of the year. Spending over the last 12 months is up 4%, at £22.96 billion and setting a new record for the highest spend in any 12 month period.
Spend per visit: On average for the last 12 months, spend per visit is at £602, which has increased since the beginning of 2017 as spending growth has outpaced visit growth so far this year.