When the 51.9% of the UK who voted to leave the EU celebrated their win back in June 2016, the last thing they were probably expecting was a headline a year later insinuating more people than ever are entering the UK. VisitBritain claims this week, that a record number of overseas people are expected to have visited the UK during 2017. So, what does this have to do with the Brexit vote last year?
As the graph above shows, the pound weakened significantly when the referendum result was announced. Although the pound recovered somewhat soon after the initial drop, it is no longer as strong as it was pre-referendum. As a result, British travellers will be finding their holidays, inter-railing, and short-breaks away are now more expensive. However, there is an upside to the weaker pound: the UK tourism industry is currently going from strength to strength.
If you could do anything with your extra hour in Britain, what would it be? #clockchange ⏰
— VisitBritain ❄️ (@VisitBritain) October 29, 2017
Tourist promotion agency, VisitBritain announced this week that the first six months of 2017 saw visits from overseas nationals increase by 8% in comparison to 2016. This change can be partly attributed to the lower value of the pound, since foreign tourists are now finding their own currency can buy more pounds. As a result, accommodation, tourist attractions and travel around Britain seems comparatively cheaper for overseas nationals.
However, incoming tourists are not the sole reason Britain is enjoying a tourism boom. The lower value of the pound has also contributed to more Britons favouring ‘staycations’ in locations such as Cornwall, Devon and other popular coastal resorts around the UK. The Telegraph claimed a substantial eight million Britons are estimated to have chosen to enjoy a staycation instead of opting for an increasingly costly holiday abroad.
Whilst there is no denying the increase in tourism has been largely caused by the depreciation of the British pound, it is worth noting that there are other factors involved. This is made apparent by the fact that the number of visitors to the UK was on the rise before the referendum result was even announced. Other events such as London 2012 has seen the UK add to its major tourist attractions and subsequently this has encouraged more visitors to the UK. Nevertheless, it would seem that the recent dramatic increases in tourism are largely down to the plummeting value of the pound sterling.
Chloe Sainsbury and Eleanor King
Image: [Newmarket Holidays]