Tourists desert UK in July as Brits flee rain

 
Ben Southwood
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TOURISTS deserted the UK during July, data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed yesterday, while Britons escaped the gloomy weather abroad.

Overseas residents made 3.2m visits to the UK during July, a fall of five per cent on the previous year, with earnings falling six per cent to £2bn.

At the same time, British enthusiasm for overseas holidays was undimmed, and UK residents made 5.7m visits abroad, roughly the same as last year. Holidaygoers spent £3.2bn over the month, bringing the sum for 2012 to date up to £17.9bn, a three per cent increase compared to last year.

The Olympics barely figured in the statistics, the ONS claim, since it began only at the very end of July. Since the Olympics is likely to have affected August’s data, the official body said, it will undertake extra research to discover the details of this effect.

But up until July visits by overseas residents had been growing – both earnings and volume were up one per cent on 2011 in the first half of the year. This suggests some factor – perhaps the weather, if not the Olympics – was at work.