Britain sees biggest fall in foreign visitors since 2009

Foreign visitors to the UK in the three months to June dropped by 7.7 percent compared with a year earlier to 10.038 million. (Reuters)
Updated 11 October 2018
0

Britain sees biggest fall in foreign visitors since 2009

  • Foreign visitor numbers in the three months to June dropped by 7.7 percent compared with a year earlier to 10.038 million
  • The Office for National Statistics offered no reasons for the declining numbers

LONDON: The number of foreigners visiting Britain for tourism or work fell by the most in nearly a decade during the three months to June, showing the country could not sustain the record numbers achieved a year earlier in the wake of 2016’s Brexit vote.
The pound’s fall after Britain voted to leave the European Union in June 2016 made the country a cheaper holiday destination, boosting visitor numbers in the second and third quarters of 2017 — peak holiday season — to record highs.
However, Thursday’s data from the Office for National Statistics show Britain has been unable to sustain these gains, with the segment of highly price-sensitive visitors possibly having been exhausted.
Foreign visitor numbers in the three months to June dropped by 7.7 percent compared with a year earlier to 10.038 million, the largest percentage drop since the depths of the global financial crisis in early 2009.
The number of North American visitors fell by 10 percent, European visitors dropped by 8 percent and there was a 6 percent fall in visitors from elsewhere.
Tourism, the most common reason for a visit, was down by 8 percent, business trips fell by 15 percent while visits to see friends and family rose by 6 percent.
Total spending by foreign visitors fell by 10.3 percent compared with a year earlier to £5.839 billion ($7.70 billion).
The ONS offered no reasons for the declining numbers.
The number of Britons traveling abroad barely changed at 19.868 million, and their spending held steady at £11.629 billion. More Britons visited North America at the expense of other non-European destinations.
Last year the United Nations estimated Britain was the world’s seventh-biggest international tourist destination by visitor numbers, slipping one spot in the rankings behind Mexico. The most visited country was France.


German economy ‘in better shape’ than thought in Q4

Updated 6 min 8 sec ago
0

German economy ‘in better shape’ than thought in Q4

  • Destatis confirmed preliminary readings of 0.0 percent expansion between October and December, adjusted for price, seasonal and calendar effects
  • Europe’s powerhouse only just escaped a technical recession — two successive quarters of negative growth — in the second half of 2018
FRANKFURT AM MAIN: The German economy is “in better shape” than feared, analysts said Friday, after detailed data for the fourth quarter of 2018 showed a dashboard with few red lights despite flat growth.
Figures from federal statistics authority Destatis confirmed preliminary readings of 0.0 percent expansion between October and December, adjusted for price, seasonal and calendar effects.
“German economic growth has stalled,” the statisticians said in a statement, with the flatline in the final three months of last year following contraction of 0.2 percent between July and September.
That meant Europe’s powerhouse only just escaped a technical recession — two successive quarters of negative growth — in the second half of 2018.
Nevertheless, “the German economy is in a better shape than its current reputation,” economist Carsten Brzeski of ING Diba bank commented on the release.
Private consumption, government spending and investments all picked up, while both imports and exports grew at around the same pace, leaving the country’s trade surplus almost flat.
“None of the traditional growth components” were negative, Brzeski noted, arguing the data showed the massive car industry’s struggles to adapt to new tougher emissions tests were the main culprit for the slowdown.
Stocks of newly-built cars had piled up in the second and third quarter, he pointed out, before being finally delivered in the fourth after passing the so-called WLTP process introduced in September.
“Inventories were a massive drag” on growth in the final three months, Unicredit analysts agreed, calculating the effect slowed the economy by “a whopping 0.6” percentage points.
“The temporary problems in the car industry mask solid fundamentals,” Brzeski said.
“In a couple of months, the German economy should be able again to show its true colors.”