Fewer Brits abroad
21 July 2010 07:42
There are fewer Brits travelling abroad according to latest figures from the office of national statistics.
With the uncertainty of recession, businesses feeling the pinch and unfavourable exchange rates, the number of Britons travelling to foreign shores in 2009 fell at its sharpest rate since the 1970s.
The figures come from the international passenger survey, an ongoing quarterly review based on interviews with 300,000 people travelling to and from Britain.
UK residents made 58.6m visits overseas in 2009, that’s 15% fewer than in 2008. The decline equates to 10.4m overseas visits and shows the reverse of the trend of increasing overseas visits over the past 40 years.
Overseas travel had been growing on average at 4% over the past 25 years. The first decline since 1991 was seen in 2007of less than 1% and then again in 2008 with a decline of 2.7%.
The findings show that the reduction of business travel was a major contributor, with 23% less than in 2008. There was a reduction in people travelling abroad to visit friends and relatives with 6.5% fewer and 15% fewer people travelled for holidays.
Overseas destinations will have felt the impact with Britons spending £5.1bn less than in 2008.
Stays in the UK and short breaks have been seen as an alternative and the UK looks set to benefit from inbound tourism as overseas travellers make the most of the weak pound. A record 3.8m visitors came to Britain from France, meaning one in eight of the 30m overseas visitors to the UK was French.
As a result, the total amount spent by foreign tourists was £16.6bn – up 1.6% before inflation on 2008 is taken into account.
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