Weak pound boosting UK tourism industry

London, Aug 3 (IANS) The number of tourists visiting the UK has risen due to the weakness of the pound which has resulted in boosting the visitors' spending power, the latest figures show.

The figures revealed by travel data firm ForwardKeys said that summer flight bookings from long-haul markets were also 6 per cent higher than in the same period last year, the BBC reported on Friday.

This week the pound hit a 31-month low against the US dollar amid increasing speculation the UK could leave the European Union (EU) without a deal.

"This summer is likely to see the highest number of Chinese tourists to the UK ever," said ForwardKeys spokesman David Tarsh, adding that the number of Indian visitors was ahead by 20 per cent, with Japan at 10 per cent and the US at 5 per cent.

Sarah Hewin, chief economist for Europe and the Americas at Standard Chartered, said the low pound meant visitors would be feeling wealthier.

"The fall in the value of the pound against China's currency means that Chinese tourists coming to the UK have seen their spending power increase by around 5 per cent in the past three months."

Patricia Yates, a director at the UK's tourism promotion agency Visit Britain, is seeing on the ground, said: "The UK is offering great value for inbound visitors right now which gives us a valuable opportunity including in Europe, where we are already running a campaign to promote travel to the UK during the summer."

But when it comes to European visitors, Visit Britain has said that there was some concern about the impact that the uncertainty of Brexit is having, the BBC reported.

The latest ONS tourism stats showed that visits from Europe to the UK were relatively flat from January to March this year - up just 2 per cent compared to the same period last year.

--IANS

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