The latest monthly data released by the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that British travelers seem to be holding back on visiting North America for their holidays. The latest monthly report—with numbers covering up to and through July 2017—show stagnant growth overall, even though arrivals for the month July 2017 were 11 percent higher than they were in July 2016. Other data points from the ONS report:
—Last three months: there were 1,040,000 visits to North America—no change vs. same three months last year;
—Year-to-date (January through July) there were 2,100,000 visits to North America—down two percent vs. previous year; and
—Latest 12 months (August 2016 through July 2017) visits to North America were up one percent vs. same period in 2015-2016
—The following table, which covers a five-year window of travel activity to North America by Britons, helps to put the July numbers into perspective.
Part of the reason for the static report lay in the strength, or lack thereof, of the British pound sterling vs. the U.S. dollar from last October through this past March—a six-month window during which many travelers from the UK plan or book their holidays for the summer. During this period, it was stuck around $1.25 (slipping as low as $1.22 in mid-January). Of late the pound has stayed near $1.35 vs. the U.S. dollar. It may be that UK arrivals to North America (usually, about 90 percent of the total is bound for the USA) might have picked up in August and during the current month of September.