Weak pound helps boost UK tourist numbers

weak pound tourists

The weakness in the value of sterling has helped to boost the number of tourists visiting the UK, with official figures showing that foreign visits to Britain increased to 3.5 million in June.

The number represents a 7 per cent increase when compared to the same month last year, Sky reports.

Most of the visits were made by European residents, but trips by people from North America received a particular boost – increasing by 35 per cent year-on-year to 650,000.

The majority of these overseas visits – almost 1.6 million – were for holiday purposes, an increase of 20 per cent on a year earlier despite terror attacks taking place in London and Manchester during that time.

In total, overseas visitors spent £2.2bn across the month, with the weak pound meaning many items are cheaper for tourists that they would have been in June 2016.

According to Howard Archer, EY ITEM club’s chief economic adviser, the figures were “clearly buoyed by the particularly sharp drop of the pound against the dollar since mid-2016.”

The value of sterling fell 20 per cent following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union and has yet to fully recover.

But despite the influx, British holidaymakers still chose to go abroad in their millions.

The Office for National Statistics said 7.2 million visits to other countries were made by UK residents in June, compared with 6.8 million in June 2016 – an increase of 4 per cent.