UK summer heatwave cost tourism industry millions

Written by Staff Writer Britain’s summer scorcher was enough to attract the throngs of tourists who flock to Britain each year, but this summer, they all left. Due to a combination of uncertainty ahead…

UK summer heatwave cost tourism industry millions

Written by Staff Writer

Britain’s summer scorcher was enough to attract the throngs of tourists who flock to Britain each year, but this summer, they all left.

Due to a combination of uncertainty ahead of Brexit, a slowing economy and trouble in the French market due to a lack of confidence in Brexit, experts say UK tourism has been hurt.

[email protected] thinks that the upcoming Christmas and New Year holidays may help tide UK visitors over before the travel chaos kicks in from 1 January. Image: Getty Images Europe/Getty Images

According to the UK’s Office for National Statistics , during summer 2018, UK tourism revenues were up 3.7% to £17.9 billion ($23.5 billion). But, the proportion of leisure and business travelers staying in the UK for such travel fell to 66% of tourists last summer, from 71% in summer 2017.

Along with a cooling economy, and a few nasties from last year like the Manchester Arena bombing and the Grenfell Tower fire, the latest data suggests that the number of people coming to the UK for their summer holiday is down.

During last summer’s sweltering hot spell, tourists flocked to Britain.

According to Andrew Richardson, head of leisure at VisitBritain, the downward trend could be linked to “the weakening of sterling following the EU referendum, together with the post-Brexit uncertainty that is dampening travel.”

Richardson added that there have been fewer visitors to France due to the terrorist attacks there. Visitor revenue from the French market was down 16% during the summer.

In a bid to lure people to the UK, Prime Minister Theresa May’s government is expecting the EU to extend the current post-Brexit transition period to encourage people to come and enjoy the country.

However, it’s not just Brexit that’s biting.

The Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland have seen an influx of tourists from China over the last few years, while last year, France surpassed Thailand as the world’s most visited country.

Despite Britons’ disdain for renting — many don’t like the hassle of paying for certain expenses such as insurance — rental revenues increased 5% from June 2017 to June 2018.

Recent numbers from credit card company Barclaycard suggest that bookings are up 1% for travel to the UK in the coming months.

However, for any travel companies looking to bring in a steady stream of tourists, there’s a catch. The maximum credit limit on cards they can apply for in the UK will be only £500, which is less than a third of what it is in Europe and the US.

“Using British holidays to gather business for overseas credit cards is akin to turning the UK into a ‘hot-housing’ market,” said Barclays customer services director Lindsay Lester.

To be clear, Barclaycard is warning against credit card fraud, rather than promoting a purely domestic base strategy.

Lester added that Barclaycard conducts “regular audits to ensure the relevant cards are covered by appropriate UK legislation” and that it expects the 10% of its credit card customers to be affected by any fraud.

You can still travel to the UK from other countries, and this summer’s UK holiday crush could well be a test case for other countries’ tourism strategies. Next year, depending on Brexit, is likely to be even busier.

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