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Tourism boosts UK business

Tourism boosts UK business

Overseas visits to the UK totalled 2.7 million in April this year, providing a significant boost to the UK’s tourism industry, according to new figures.


» Tourism | Thursday, June 9, 2011 • Air News Times
The Office for National Statistics (ONS), which published the travel and tourism data, attributed the rise in international visits in April to Easter and the Royal wedding.



In the 12-month period to April 2011, visits to the UK increased 3 per cent when compared with a year earlier, whereas visits abroad fell 2 per cent.
 



Holiday and business visits to the UK have grown substantially, says the ONS, while business visits abroad by UK residents remained stable in the last year.



Mike Saul, head of hospitality and leisure at Barclays Corporate, says April proved a ‘popular month for travel’, although he remains cautious about the outlook.



‘This does not herald a change in tides, however, as there is still a lot of pessimism around the short term outlook for the sector. Comments this week from IATA (International Air Transport Association) on the impact of fuel costs and taxes putting greater pressure on European low cost flights highlight the challenges to come,’ Saul adds.



The three month period February to April this year saw an increase in visits to and from the UK when measured against the previous three months and with the same period in 2010.
 
The travel disruptions related to the snow in December last year and the volcanic ash cloud in April 2010, which grounded many flights, have impacted the comparisons, suggest the ONS.




In other statistics published by the ONS, the UK’s trade deficit has been recorded at £2.8 billion for April, unchanged from March, which was originally published as a deficit of £3 billion.




The surplus on trade in services was £4.6 billion in April, compared with a surplus of £4.9 billion in March, while the deficit on goods trade narrowed to £7.4 billion in April, compared with a deficit of £7.7 billion in March. Exports rose by less than £100 million but imports fell by £300 million.
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