BHA encourages UK to ‘take advantage’ of record tourist figures

The British Hospitality Association (BHA) has responded to figures which showed June saw record numbers of overseas visits to the UK.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), there were a record 3.5 million inbound visits to the UK, up 7% compared with the same period last year. Overseas visitors also spent £2.2bn in June, up 2% compared.

It is thought that the weaker pound has contributed to the record number of visits.

Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of BHA suggested that the UK should “take advantage” of the increase in visitor numbers while taking the opportunity to “tap into new markets” and reform “non-EU tourist visa systems”.

She said: “It’s positive to see visitors returning to the UK after a difficult May. In spite of the weak pound, the UK cannot build its tourism strategy on currency fluctuations.

“With business travel down 7% the government must ensure that the UK remains open for business by immediately reducing the rate of Tourism VAT, which is double that of our European competitors.

She added: “We welcome the suggestion that the government has taken on board BHA policy and aim to retain visa-free access for EU visitors, who make up two thirds of all visitors to Britain, after Brexit.”

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