Although there are some steep drops in the IPS figures for Dec 2017, the preliminary results for 2017 show a 3% rise in visitor numbers and 8% increase in spend overall. However, please note that monthly figures are provisional and can fluctuate; it is more robust to use the provisional figure for the three-month period.
• Visits: The UK welcomed 2.6 million overseas visits in December, down by 11% compared to December 2016. Between October and December 2017 there were 8.8 million inbound visits to the UK, down 7% on the same period in 2016. However, overseas visits in 2017 overall set a new record. There were 38.9 million visits to the UK in 2017 overall (up 3% on 2016).
• Spending: In December 2017 visitor spending fell 13% compared to December 2016 to reach £1.6 billion. Between October and December 2017 inbound visitors spent a total of £5.3 billion, down 3% on the last quarter of 2016. But with record results in each of the first nine months of the year and in November, inbound visitors’ spending still shows record results for 2017 overall: international visitors spent £24.3 billion in 2017 (up 8% on 2016).
• Holiday visits fell by 7% year-on-year in December 2017 to 880,000 visits. However there were a record 15.2 million holiday visits in 2017 overall. Visits to friends and relatives (VFR) were down 8% in December 2017 to 960,000 visits, but VFR still reached a new record for the year, with 11.9 million visits overall in 2017 for this purpose (+3% on 2016). During December 2017 business visits continued to be weaker than in 2016, down 10% year-on-year and are tracking below previous levels for 2017 overall (-5% on 2016). Moreover visits to the UK for miscellaneous purposes fell by 37% to 200,000 visits during December 2017, compared to December 2016, making up to 3.0 million miscellaneous visits in 2017 overall, up 2% on 2016 (not a record though).
• Global regions: Visits from both EU15 markets and Other EU markets in December 2017 were down, -11% to 1.4 million visits, and -25% to 320,000 visits respectively, compared to the same month in 2016. Visits from the Rest of Europe rose 26% year-on-year in December 2017 to 170,000 visits. Visits to the UK from North America fell by 17% in December 2017 to 240,000 visits. Finally Rest of World markets reported an 8% decline in visits to the UK with 420,000 visits during December 2017.