2017 gets off to a good start for tourism

The UK has seen a 14% increase in arrival numbers in January resulting in retail sales growth of 43% in the month. Encouragingly the increase comes from a range of nationalities including Brazilians and Chinese but also for the first time in a while Russians.

Further encouragement comes from the current outlook for the next three months which suggests that the UK will see gains in arrival numbers over and above those seen in January. Again the increase will come from a range of nationalities.

Much of this is driven by the drop in the value of the pound since the Brexit vote but we are not the only country in Europe to be doing well.

After terror attacks, violent labour strikes by transport workers, record floods in Paris, and the football tournament in the summer of 2016, all contrived to deter large numbers of visitors to France, it is at last starting to see positive gains with arrivals up 21% in January. Italy also saw arrivals up 15% and Spain 21%. All expect to see the trend continue over the next few months. Germany is the exception with only a 1% gain.

To put it into perspective though;

Chinese nationals took more than 350 million trips during the seven-day Spring Festival holiday period which marked the Lunar New Year, according to official data from the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA). That’s more than 5 times the population of the UK. So there is plenty of opportunity for more growth.