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TI News: An information service from Office of Travel & Tourism Industries (OTTI)

April 28, 2009

UNITED KINGDOM TRAVEL TO THE UNITED STATES

2008 Ends on a Positive Note

  • According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Travel & Tourism Industries travel trade barometer program, the United Kingdom bookings to the United States ended 2008 on a positive note, countering the trend of declines registered from other countries in fourth quarter 2008.
  • United Kingdom tour operators reported (as of January/February 2009) that 2008 bookings were up one to three percent compared to 2007.

First Quarter 2009 Bookings Flat to Slightly Lower

  • United Kingdom tour operators reported that bookings to the United States for the first quarter 2009 were to be slightly lower bookings in the first quarter 2008.
  • In contrast, 60 percent of trade reported a decrease in bookings. At the same time, almost one-fifth (20%) of the trade projected increases.

Second Quarter 2009 Bookings Flat to Slightly Lower

  • United Kingdom bookings for the second quarter 2009 (at the time of the January/February 2009 survey) were also reported to be lower than bookings in the second quarter 2008.
  • During this quarter, 56 percent of the trade reported a decrease in bookings, and 16% of the respondents reported much lower bookings for the quarter.

Actual United Kingdom Arrivals to the United States: Annual 2008 and Fourth Quarter 2008

  • Actual annual 2008 arrivals from the United Kingdom totaled 4.6 million, increasing over one percent when compared to 2007.
  • Fourth quarter 2008 arrivals from the United Kingdom totaled 1.1 million, down 11 percent compared to fourth quarter 2007.
    • In October 2008, United Kingdom arrivals totaled 435,349, down five percent when compared to October 2007.
    • Visitation slowed in November 2008, totaling only 327,551, decreasing 14 percent when compared to November 2007.
    • In December 2008, arrivals from the United Kingdom were 356,221, down nearly 14 percent when compared to December 2007.

Implications for Differences

  • Travel operators’ bookings data primarily reflect leisure travel.
  • OTTI’s reporting of total arrivals includes visitors to the United States on a package as well as those traveling independently. It includes business travelers, leisure travelers, those visiting friends and relatives, and students in the country less than a year.
  • Further analysis of actual United Kingdom arrivals to the United States reveals larger declines in business travel than in leisure visitors which attributed to overall visitation declines in the last quarter of 2008 and the first part of 2009.
  • The Barometer respondent mix changed in 2008 with an increase in online booking operators, thus potentially affecting comparative results to the previous year.

COMING SOON:

An updated United Kingdom Travel Trade Barometer 1(survey collection in March/April 2009) will soon be released. This Barometer will report first quarter 2009 bookings along with projected bookings through the third quarter 2009.

The U.S. Department of Commerce released actual 2008 visitation to the United States on March 24, 2009 and released January 2009 arrivals on April 10, 2009. February 2009 visitation data will be released in early May.

BACKGROUD AND SOURCE:

Travel Market Insights <www.travelmi.com> conducts the German Travel Trade Barometer in conjunction with the U.S. Travel Association. The U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, is a sponsor and developed the barometer program. The Barometer program is conducted with support from the U.S. Commercial Service – Germany and the Visit USA Committee Germany.

The Travel Trade Barometer survey is conducted on a quarterly basis in Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Mexico and is available through subscription. Reports sent to subscribers include additional information, such as:

  • Bookings - looking at the past quarter and the next two quarters for U.S. and competitive regional destinations;
  • Short term bookings for more than five specific categories; and
  • Over 15 motivators or deterrents for travel to the United States.

Specific (proprietary) destination data is also available through a subscription.
For more information on the Travel Barometer Program, please visit http://travel.trade.gov/research/programs/barometer/index.html

CONTACT:

U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration
Office of Travel and Tourism Industries (OTTI)
1401 Constitution Avenue N.W., Room 1003
Washington, D.C.  20230
Phone: (202) 482-0140
Fax: (202) 482-4279
Email: Otti@trade.gov


1 The United Kingdom Travel Trade Barometer is a qualitative survey designed to collect input from active United Kingdom Tour operators. The Barometer program is a partnership with the U.S. Travel Association and Travel Market Insights.