The ongoing political turmoil in the UK has dented its tourism sector, with visitor spending slumping 7 per cent last year as EU tourists stayed away due to uncertainty.
Brexiteers boasted that Britain would out compete its tourism rivals when it left the European Union. However, a sharp fall in visitor spending in 2018 has seen the tourism balance of payments deficit bigger than ever at an estimated £22.5 billion.
There were 3 per cent fewer overseas visitors last year than in 2017, representing 1.2 million travellers. Collectively they spent 7 per cent less, a drop of £1.6 billion.
“Last year was the second highest year on record after a stellar 2017 for inbound tourism to the UK, both for the number of visits and for spending,” said VisitBritain director Patricia Yates.
“We have however seen a slow-down from Europe with our research showing concern on the impact that the uncertainty of Brexit is having for visitors from the EU.
“VisitBritain is working very hard to reassure visitors that our message of warm welcome remains.”