Tourism: Despite Weakened Pound Sterling and lower Hotel rates Tourists flee Britain after BREXIT
Hotel bookings for London, which is safe to state as the engine for UK tourism, has seen a steep decrease since the EU referendum.
After the sterling has fallen by more than 10 per cent against the euro and dollar since the vote in June to leave the EU, it was expected to make the UK more attractive to foreign tourists but it saw a reversed effect.
The primary data from global hotel data firm STR revealed that the number of empty hotel beds in the capital increased by more than one-third in October compared with a year earlier. Also, the average rates fell by 7.7 per cent to below £150.
Copthorne Millennium Hotel in Kensington, which is one of the four-star hotels is selling double rooms for next Sunday night for £87 which is more by just £5 than the basic room with twin bunk beds room at the nearby Safestay hostel in Holland Park.
The London-wide occupancy rate in October was 85 per cent, down from 89 per cent the year before and it marks the lowest figure for the month since 2008, when the financial crisis began.
Analysts for STR reported that demand fell “across both weekday and weekend business”. The weekday guests are more of the business travellers while the weekends are more dependent on leisure travellers.
The main metric used by the hospitality industry for assessing performance is revenue per available room (RevPAR), which fell by 11.4 per cent last month compared with the previous year. Outside London, occupancy fell slightly – down 1.4 per cent to 79.7 per cent – but was outweighed by a 1.9 per cent rise in average the rate to £72.16. The 2012 Olympics, the number of international visitors to London has risen by one-fifth and about 36.1m tourists visited the capital last year. More than half of them were overseas visitors. Average tourist spending in the city amounts to £1,000 per person.
The latest forecasts by London & Partners suggested that London tourism would see stronger long-term growth, with 22.4million overseas tourists predicted to come to the capital by 2020. However, travel leaders also said that it is difficult to make tourism with too many fluctuations in the pound value.
The number of hotel rooms in the capital continues to increase, with the supply of beds on Airbnb and other peer-to-peer accommodation sites also increasing. Despite all these, Amsterdam is raked as more attractive hotel-investment destination in Europe as found by Deloitte.
The Deloitte survey measures long-term confidence in destinations. Slightly more than half (52 per cent) of hotel investors cited geopolitical instability in Europe as their main concern for 2017. The British Hospitality Association, which represents hoteliers, said much of the domestic tourism industry relies upon workers from other European countries.