Flight bookings to the UK rose 4.3 percent following the country’s vote to leave the European Union, reported travel analytics firm ForwardKeys on Monday.
The rapid rise in the number of inbound flight reservations reversed the 2.8 percent decline in bookings in the month before the June 23 referendum as international visitors took advantage of a cheaper UK-based vacation following a slump in the British pound.
The Brexit vote caused the British pound to weaken against the US dollar at a 31-year low, making it cheaper for holders of that currency to visit the UK due to the change in the exchange rate.
“The most favourable exchange rate in decades is probably the major driver for the uptake in bookings to Britain. The 10% drop in the value of sterling after the referendum sharpened interest in the UK as a holiday destination from countries around the world,” ForwardKeys said.
The pound also dropped another 2 percent against the US dollar on Thursday after the Bank of England decided to cut interest rates to 0.25 percent for the first time since the economic crisis in 2009.
Prompted by the pound’s fall against the Euro, bookings from Europeans rose 5 percent, reversing the trend in the month pre-Brexit when it was 6.8 percent lower.
Bookings from non-Europeans were up by 8.6 percent, having been down by 0.1 percent the month before Brexit. Bookings from Hong Kong rose by 30.1 percent, the U.S. by 9.2 percent and Canada by 7.4 percent.
It is believed that the rise in visitors could provide a boost to hoteliers, tourist attractions, shops and restaurants across the UK, many of which are already benefiting from the “staycation” trend. This refers to the rapid rise in British holiday makers abandoning plans for foreign travel and deciding to vacation in the UK due to the sharp rise in cost of vacations abroad.
The Brexit has also pushed down the price of luxury goods in Britain, further attracting wealthy foreign tourists to the country according to research by the investment firm Exane BNP Paribas.
“A weak British pound will boost travel inflows to the UK, helping British luxury good players like Burberry, Mulberry, and Jimmy Choo,” said the head of luxury goods at Exane Luca Solca.
“It’s now confirmed that Brexit had an immediate, positive impact on inbound tourism to the UK, which is converting into better-than-anticipated arrivals. In the months ahead, our data will show whether this post-Brexit bounce is sustained,” said ForwardKeys co-founder and Chief Executive Olivier Jager.