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
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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.


Auto parts suppliers warn hard Brexit may set UK back 25 years

Updated 48 min 39 sec ago
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Auto parts suppliers warn hard Brexit may set UK back 25 years

  • Europe’s carmakers’ lobby ACEA and suppliers’ association CLEPA, along with BMW and brakes maker Brembo, jointly warned that a no-deal exit would be catastrophic for the industry
  • Roberto Vavassori: The recovery of Britain’s auto sector in the 20 years since the decline of British Leyland and its successor Rover Group was based on investment from around the world

BRUSSELS: Failure to secure a trade deal for Britain when it exits the EU next year could set the UK auto sector back two decades, leading parts suppliers said on Wednesday as they urged leaders to reach agreement at a summit in Brussels.
Europe’s carmakers’ lobby ACEA and suppliers’ association CLEPA, along with BMW and brakes maker Brembo, jointly warned that a no-deal exit would be catastrophic for the industry.
The “just-in-time” industry model relied on frictionless trade between Britain and mainland Europe, they said.
“If we are continuing to be taken hostage by this situation, the flourishing UK auto industry could come back to the situation it was at 20-25 years ago,” said Roberto Vavassori, a management board member at Brembo and president of CLEPA.

 

The recovery of Britain’s auto sector in the 20 years since the decline of British Leyland and its successor Rover Group was based on investment from around the world, he said.
Vavassori said he felt “betrayed” that Brembo’s manufacturing in Coventry, UK, would be a different prospect post-Brexit from the time of its investment 15 years ago.
ACEA said contingency planning by its members included temporary production shutdowns and scouting for warehouse space to stockpile parts.
“No amount of contingency planning can realistically cover all the gaps left by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU on WTO terms,” ACEA said, referring to a no-deal scenario in which Britain would have no preferential access to EU markets.
Some 1,100 trucks arrive in Britain every day from elsewhere in the country with parts for the UK auto sector, and storage space to cover more than a day or two of production was not feasible.
The EU leaders’ meeting from Wednesday had hoped to reach a provisional Brexit deal before signing off on a withdrawal agreement at a special Brexit summit
in November.
The talks, stalled since Sunday, are stuck over the issue of how to avoid a hard border between the British province of Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.
BMW said that its survey of
Brexit preparedness showed only 10 percent of British automotive suppliers and 41 percent of EU suppliers considered they were well prepared for Brexit, with many having little or no experience of customs clearing.
Stephan Freismuth, customs manager at BMW, said that at the Channel tunnel and ports such as Dover there was no customs
infrastructure and, in some cases, no space for trucks awaiting checks to park.

FACTOID

Some 1,100 trucks arrive in Britain every day from elsewhere in the country with parts for the UK auto sector.