Tourism flat for the year so far as business trips to UK take off

DESPITE anaemic growth in the overall number of trips to and from the UK, business visits are becoming more common, seeing a 10 per cent rise between February and April.

So far this year, the overall number of visits to the UK from abroad has risen by one per cent, and there have been one per cent fewer visits abroad from the UK.

In the last year, earnings from tourism to the UK have expanded by five per cent.

Visits to North America, traditionally a popular destination, fell by nine per cent in the year between April 2012 and April 2013.

Similarly, there has been a change in the countries that people visit the UK from. Travel from countries outside of Europe and North America rose by nine per cent in the same 12-month period, at the expense of tourists from more common points of departure.

Mike Saul, head of hospitality and leisure at Barclays, commented on yesterday’s release. “April’s rise in air passenger duty did not help outbound travel, with numbers showing little sign of improving”, adding, “the months ahead show signs of improvement as British hoteliers prepare for a busier summer in the capital and beyond”.

The rise in air passenger duty was announced in last March, during the budget, and came into force in April this year.