Keeping in mind that comparison of selective data can tilt the view of any statistical report, it is nonetheless encouraging to those in the UK who sell Visit USA product that, while UK residents made 2 percent fewer visits abroad in the month of January 2019 than during the same month a year ago, visitor traffic to North America (about 90 percent goes to the USA) in January 2019 was 42 percent greater than it was in January 2018.
The data from the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) which revealed this number also showed that, for the fiscal quarter of November and December 2018, plus January of 2019, UK visitors to North America were 29 percent higher than in the same quarter a year ago.
And, while the total for the one-year period ending with January 2019 is not as dramatic, it was 8 percent higher than it was for the same one-year period a year ago.
What most pleases the tour and travel industry is the figure for January 2019. Not only is it the highest monthly figure that it’s been over a five-year period, it came during a month that, historically, tells us that bookings for the peak travel season later on the year are already strong.
While the tour and travel industry is no doubt pleased with the January numbers from ONS, others—including economists, political commentators and those who follow the industry—must be a bit confounded that a steady a steady stream of suggestions that Brexit would dampen the inclination to take their holidays has had little impact when it comes to North America as the destination of choice.
Estimates contained in the ONS report are produced from responses provided by international passengers arriving in and departing from the UK, sampled on our International Passsenger Survey (IPS). Responses to the survey are scaled up to represent all passengers using information on total international passenger traffic for the reporting period. Estimates are based on interviews conducted when passengers end their visit. Any visits commencing in the reported month but not completed until later are not included in estimates for the reported month.
(INBOUND is a service of Connect Travel, which will be at booth 2235 at IPW in Anaheim. Stop by and pay us a visit!)