Just-released figures from the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed a sharp drop in the number of UK residents traveling to North American in January, the month when Donald Trump became President of the United States. (Generally, more than 90 percent of Britons traveling to North America are traveling to the U.S.)
While the overall number of Brits traveling abroad jumped 9 percent to 4.6 million visits in January, the number of Brits going to the USA/North America fell 17 percent, from 276,000 for January 2016 to 230,000 this January. While some British news outlets were quick to note that the decline coincides with Trump’s inauguration as president, that kind of correlation doesn’t take into account that many of January’s trips had been booked before Trump’s Nov. 8, 2016 election
Meanwhile, ONS said part of the drop could be explained by January 2016 being a particularly strong month for outbound trips to the US, but said there was still a significant drop. Also, between January 2016 and January 2017, the British pound had also weakened against the dollar following the June 23, 2016 Brexit vote.
Another point: Based on previous years, ONS said it would expect to see a rise in visitors to the USA in January compared with December, but this year was an exception—while 250,000 Britons traveled to the U.S. in December, the figure fell to 230,000 in January.