USA Attracts Fewer Britons

By | Category: Travel rumblings

The Americans have announced that visitors to its country are up dramatically. South Korean visitors increased by a half, Brazilians by over a third and Australians by over a quarter. And what of the Brits? Down by 1% compared to the first nine months of 2009. Why should this be so? Does it matter to the Americans that we are not going there when such large increases are being registered from other places? Isn’t a fall of just 1% insignificant anyway when, just comparing the month of September 2010 with that of September 2009, the figure is up by 6%.?
To start with the UK is one of the most important markets for the US. It is the 3rd largest source of overseas visitors and the 1st in terms of long haul travelers. Only Canada and Mexico send more visitors and their countries adjoin the US. Secondly, the Britons are big visitors to certain states such as Florida. Without them Florida starts to suffer and this year, visitor numbers are down to that state
Since these figures cover the period when air passenger duty increased markedly in November 2009, that may be having an effect. As might the large increases in air fares that have come in over the year, admittedly partly due to airlines passing the tax through to us. The there is the visa charge that the Americans have introduced, all of which makes the cost of travelling there expensive in comparison with a few years ago.
But does a 1% drop matter? Surely with so much competition for us to travel to other places, you could say that the US did well to keep the decline down to only 1%? The concern might be what 2011 will be like. We have just had another massive increase in APD. Airlines have been pushing through more prices so the days of the £199 return fare to New York are gone. And the £299 fare is probably unlikely to be seen so often. Expect to see airfares more in the range of £300-£400 in the quieter periods. So, in the face of all these charges, the US tourism industry will be trying harder to get us to go there.

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