After a six-month lag in time since it produced hard data on the number of UK residents who have visited North America (generally, about 90 percent of those visits are to the U.S.), the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) has released preliminary data for the first quarter of 2018. They show that compared to Q1 2017, arrivals for the first quarter of were off by just eight-tenths of a percentage point. The figure tends to confirm what U.S. receptive tour operators were telling INBOUND last autumn as the last bookings by British travelers for the 2017-2018 winter season were being made.
A caution to those who would make a full-year projection, based on these data: the first quarter of the year is the weakest for UK travel to the United States and is subject to considerable variation, primarily due to the difference in dates for the Easter Holiday. (This year, Easter Sunday was observed on April 1, suggesting that March figure should have been higher than is reflected in the table below.)
The industry won’t have a definitive statistical measure on how the market is doing this year until the data are tallied for the third quarter, which includes the peak travel month of August, which should be about three months from now. UK Departures to North America.