European and US visitor numbers to Britain surge after Brexit as spending jumps

Jasper Jolly
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UK Tourism Benefits From The Post-Brexit Weak Pound
Tourist numbers may have been boosted by the weaker pound (Source: Getty)

Visitor numbers to the UK from the EU and America have surged year on year, while a new analysis shows just under 900,000 British citizens live in Europe.

US visitor numbers increased by 11 per cent in the three months to November 2016 compared to the same period in 2015, according to the Office for National Statistics, with visits by EU citizens growing by five per cent.

Overseas residents spent an estimated £22.2bn in the UK during their visits in the year to November, with a big boost from a 14 per cent increase in spending during the last three months.

Spending may have been pushed up by the devaluation of sterling, which has fallen by roughly 15 per cent from its peak before the UK referendum on leaving the EU.

Read more: Here are six things we learned from the latest ONS travel figures

Meanwhile the ONS’s analysis of EU census figures from 2011 shows Spain, unsurprisingly, as the most popular home away from home, with over 300,000 UK citizens. More than a third of these are retirees aged 65 or over.

France is the next most popular nation for British migrants, followed by Ireland and Germany.

The analysis comes as the fate of British citizens in EU countries is still undecided. While it is perceived as unlikely they will be forced to return to the UK after Brexit, neither the EU or the UK have given assurances to migrants that they will be allowed to remain in their current nations.

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