Overseas visits to the UK increase whilst residents stay at home

Event spaces in the UK could be well placed to take advantage of the recent trends in international travel, as figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) have shown that the number of overseas visitors to Britain has increased at the same time as UK residents elect to stay at home.

As reported by the British Hospitality Association, this July saw a 5% increase in the number of overseas residents visiting the UK in comparison the same time last year. When viewed across the second quarter of 2010, the number has increased by 10% on Q1 to a total of 7.7 million overseas visitors.

Meanwhile visits from the UK to overseas destinations have remained subdued, with the ONS reporting that though decline has slowed since 2009’s record fall in visits abroad by UK residents it remains at 10% lower for the year ending July 2010. This represents a drop of 6.4 million from the 62.4 million overseas visits recorded by the ONS in the 12 months leading to July 2009.

More significantly for the corporate venues and conference centre markets though, is that the ONS figures show these trends are largely mirrored in terms of business travel.

Many UK-based businesses are choosing to stay local rather than travel overseas, with a 17% fall in the number of overseas visits for business reasons by UK residents. Meanwhile although visits for business reasons from overseas residents to the UK has dropped by 3% during the same period, when compared to the overall reduction in international travel seen during this period due to the recession it almost directly reflects the total drop of 0.7 million visitors (-2%).