September IPS figures – Growth slowing but visits still at record level

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September IPS figures – Growth slowing but visits still at record level

The international passenger survey figures for Sept have just been released.

The figures for Sept are pretty much static (down 1% on volume and up 2% in value) but as we know the monthly figures can fluctuate so the longer 3 month figures are probably a bit more accurate showing visits up 4% and spend up by 3%. This slow-down in growth has pulled the YTD figures down to 7% and 9% respectively. With figures for nine months of the year, including the main tourism season out of the way, it would be difficult to see the end of the year figures varying significant from this level, which would mean that inbound tourism should generate £2bn in additional export revenue for the UK economy in 2017. This is an exceptional performance and is only second to the £2.6bn increase in inbound tourism revenue that was generated in 2013 after the 2012 Olympics.

This revenue is sufficient to generate over 35,000 new jobs in the tourism industry. However, the self-congratulations needs to be put in the context that the UK’s growth in inbound tourism is less that that being achieved by Spain, France and the Netherlands. Equal to Italy and Switzerland and only 1% above Germany – and these countries haven’t benefitted from a 15% fall in their currency.

The journey purpose data, as in previous months, shows that growth has been particularly strong in the leisure and VFR segments, while business travel is down markedly due to business uncertainty related to Brexit, while the global source market data shows that the most of the growth is coming from the long-haul markets.

What is new and interesting is that outbound tourism is starting to show its first signs of slowing down with visits down 2% and spend down 1% over the last three months. While not unexpected considering the exchange rate, it has been remarkable how resilient outbound tourism has been over 2017 and suggests that (a) travel is seen as necessity rather than a luxury item and (b) there is something of a two-tier economy in the UK with large numbers of people benefiting from very low mortgage rates.

Read the full report here

Courtesy of Kurt Janson, Director, Tourism Alliance