The number of overseas visitors heading to Britain in the key summer holiday months has dropped by 3 percent compared to the same period last year, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed Thursday.
The number of international tourists was up by 1 percent, while the numbers coming to Britain on family visits fell by 11 percent.
The ONS study covered the three months between July and September, which includes the main holiday season periods.
The figures show overseas residents made 10.8 million visits to Britain in the three month period, a decrease of 3 percent compared with the same three months in 2017, when record visits were recorded.
During the quarter year period, overseas residents spent 9.3 billion U.S. dollars on their visits to Britain, 15 percent less than in same July to September period in 2017.
ONS said taking holidays was the most popular reason for visiting Britain in Quarter 3 2018, with 4.8 million visits. This was an increase of 1 percent compared with same quarter of 2017. Business visits increased to 2.1 million, 6 percent more than in 2017. Visits to friends and relatives decreased by 11 percent to 3.1 million.
Different trends were observed from different areas of the world, said ONS. Visits to Britain from European countries decreased by 3 percent, and visits from residents of “other countries” (countries outside of Europe and North America) fell by 9 percent. Conversely, the number of visits from North American residents increased by 9 percent.
The survey also revealed that British residents made 24.2 million visits abroad in the quarter three period of 2018, which was 1 percent more than the corresponding period the previous year.
British residents spent more than 21 billion U.S. dollars on visits abroad in the third quarter of 2018; an increase of 3 period compared with the same three months in 2017.
A spokesperson for ONS said: “There were falls in the numbers of visits to the UK by overseas residents compared with a year earlier, and spending by overseas resident visitors, but it should be noted that both visitor numbers, and spending by these visitors, were the highest ever recorded by the survey in the corresponding 3-month period of 2017.”