Foreign visits to UK in July down despite London Olympics

THE NUMBER of visits foreign residents made to the UK dipped in July despite the lure of the Olympics.

• Foreign visitor numbers down from 3.36 million to 3.18 million

• Spending also down on last July

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• Visitor numbers and spending up 1% for year so far

Overseas residents made 3.18 million visits to the UK in July 2012 compared with 3.36 million in July last year, according to Office for National Statistics figures.

The amount spent by foreign visitors during their July 2012 visits to the UK reached £2.01 billion - slightly down on the £2.13 billion figure for July 2011.

Despite the dip in July, the number of visits to the UK by foreign residents for the first seven months of this year, at 17.93 million, is 1% up on the January-July 2011 total, while spending is up 1% to more than £9.82 billion.

UK residents made 5.75 million trips abroad in July this year - fractionally up on the total of just under 5.74 million in July 2011.

Spending by Britons while on trips abroad in July this year was £3.56 billion, compared with £3.34 billion in July 2011.

Total visits abroad by UK residents in the first seven months of 2012 stand at 31.7 million - about the same as in January-July last year, while their spending is up 3% to £17.9 billion.

Mike Saul, head of hospitality and leisure at Barclays, said: “For the second month running tourists stayed away, with many holding out for the 2012 Games to begin before heading to the UK.

“While outbound figures remain stable, we are seeing trips become shorter with the traditional bucket-and-spade holiday largely being replaced by pick-and-mix packages, where consumers have far more control and are able to include visits to see friends and family.”