The provisional International Passenger Survey results for June 2019 have shown a resurgence in inbound tourism at the beginning of summer, following declines earlier in the year. Visit numbers reached 3.5 million, just short of the June 2017 record, while spending rose 13% to reach a record £2.3 billion. Despite this rebound, visits and spend over the longer term are still tracking below comparative periods in 2018. The North American and Rest of Europe markets continued to dominate, although visits from EU markets did pick up following a period of decline. Despite an upturn in May, VFR visits continued to fall while holiday, business and miscellaneous visits saw continued growth.
- The UK welcomed 3.5 million overseas visits in June 2019, up 9% year-on-year and just 1% below the June 2017 record.
- Following declines earlier in the year, visits in the 3 months to June were down 2% to 9.9 million, and are down 1% for the year-to-date at 17.8 million.
- Overseas visits in the 12 months to June 2019 were on par with the previous year at 37.8 million.
- Inbound visitors spent a record £2.3 billion, up 13% compared to June 2018.
- The strong result meant spending in the 3-month period to June was on par with the same period in 2018 at £6 billion.
- However with spending in decline in all the previous months of 2019, year-to-date visitor spend was down 2% compared to the first half of 2018, at just under £10.3 billion.
- In the rolling 12 months to June 2019 visitors spent £22.7 billion, down 6% compared to the previous 12-month period.
- Holiday visits recovered after a fall in May, growing 18% year-on-year to reach a record 1.6 million, however the earlier decline meant holiday visits for the April – June 2019 period was on par with the same period in 2018 at 4.3 million visits. With May being the only month to see a year-on-year decline, holiday visits were up 3% for the first half of the year compared to 2018 at just over 7 million, while holiday visits for the rolling 12-months to June 2019 were up 5% year-on-year to reach 15.4 million visits.
- VFR (visits to family and friends) was the only journey purpose to see a year-on-year decline in June, with visits falling 13% from the June 2018 record to reach 880,000. Despite an upturn in May, VFR visits posted year-on-year declines in all other months in 2019, meaning figures were down 6% in the 3 months to June 2019 at 2.8 million, and down 5% for both the year-to-date at 3.4 million, and for the rolling 12-month period to June 2019 at just under 11.5 million.
- Business visits saw the biggest growth at 24% in June 2019 compared to the previous year to reach 800,000 – though still short of the June 2016 record. Despite this, business visits for the April – June 2019 period was on par with 2018 at 2.1 million, and down 1% for the year-to-date at 4.3 million. Business visits in the 12 months to June 2019 was also on par with the previous 12 months, at just over 8.4 million.
- Miscellaneous journeys (a wide range of journey purposes including – but not limited to – short term study, job seeking, shopping, attending a sports event and more) in June 2019 grew 9% year-on-year, reaching 210,000. However fluctuations earlier in the year meant miscellaneous visits between April and June 2019 were on par with the same period in 2018 at 580,000. A longer term view shows a more sustained decline in these journeys, down 3% year-on-year for the first half of the year, and down 7% in the rolling 12 months to June 2019 at 2.5 million.
- Following a particularly weak May, visits from All EU markets were up 8% year-on-year in June 2019, reaching just over 2 million. Despite the resurgence however, visits from this market are showing an increasing decline up until June, with visits down 5% in the 3-month period to June 2019 at 6.2 million, down 2% for the year-to-date at 11.8 million, and 1% down for the rolling 12-months to June 2019 at just over 24.5 million.
- Within the overall EU market, visits from EU15 markets in June rose 13% year-on-year to reach 1.7 million. However, reflecting results from the All EU markets, an increasing decline up to June 2019 was seen over the longer term, with visits down 6% year-on-year at 5 million for the April – June period, down 4% at 9.3 million for the year-to-date, and down 2% for the rolling 12-months to June at 19.6 million.
- Visits from Other EU markets showed an opposite trend, with visits down 9% in June to reach 380,000. Mild declines in April and May mean figures were down 4% year-on-year at 1.2 million for the April – June 2019 period, however growth from this market during Q1 means figures are tracking 5% above 2018 for the year-to-date to reach a record 2.5 million, and are 2% higher for the rolling 12-months to June at just under 5 million.
- Visits from the Rest of Europe continued to show accelerating growth, with visits up 15% year-on-year in June to reach 210,000. Visits from this market were also up 5% for the 3 months to June 2019 at 600,000, and up 6% for the year-to-date at just over 1 million. For the rolling 12 months to June 2019 visits were on par with the previous 12-month period at just under 2.3 million.
- Visits from North America continued to perform well, with a 27% year-on-year growth in June 2019 to reach a record 680,000. Visits from this market also set records for the April – June period with 1.6 million visits – a year-on-year increase of 18%, and reach a record 2.4 million for the year-to-date, up 12% from the same period in 2018. For the rolling 12-months to June 2019 a record 5 million visits were made from this market, up 8% on the previous 12 months, breaking the previous record set in 2000.
- Visits from the Rest of the World fell 6% in June 2019 compared to 2018 to reach 600,000, confirming the downward trend observed in all 2019 months apart from May. Visits were down 5% year-on-year for the April – June period at 1.4 million, down 6% at just over 2.5 million for the year-to-date, and 5% for the 12-months to June 2019 at just under 6 million.
The full summary report from VisitBritain can be downloaded at the link below.