Post-Brexit pound slump and falling flight costs lure overseas tourists to UK this Easter

Exclusive: International flight bookings to the UK have increased by 49 per cent for the Easter holiday period

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The sharp post-Brexit drop in the value of the pound combined with falling flight costs has lured bargain-hunting overseas tourist to the UK for Easter, according to industry figures.

International flight bookings to the UK have increased by 49 per cent for the Easter holiday period, which falls between 31 March and 14 April, compared to the same holiday period last year, according to data by eDreams ODIGEO, one of Europe’s largest e-commerce businesses and owner of online travel agency eDreams.

The fall in the pound against the euro since Britain voted to leave the EU in June has made the UK a much more attractive destination, particularly for European travellers, but the rise may also have been fuelled by falling flight costs.

The average price of a return ticket from Europe to the UK during the Easter break has fallen by 16 per cent year-on-year, according to eDreams.

Edinburgh has surpassed London as the most popular destination in terms of year-on-year growth of flight bookings with a 66 per cent rise compared to 61 per cent for the capital. Bookings to Manchester went up by 48 per cent.

Overall, the UK has a 10 per cent share of all flight arrivals when it comes to all European travel bookings within Europe during Easter 2017, the figures show.

Dana Dunne, chief executive of eDreams ODIGEO said: “London has always been a favourite destination for travellers from around the world, […] What's really encouraging for the British tourism industry is that inbound arrivals are also up for cities across the country, including Edinburgh and Manchester.” 

The latest tourism figures from the Office for National Statistics revealed that spending by overseas tourists in the UK was 15 per cent higher in January than a year earlier and visits were up 9 per cent.

However, there have also been warnings that the industry risks significant long-term damage as a result of Brexit.

Earlier this month, the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), which has about 1,200 members including airlines and travel agents, urged ministers to maintain UK holidaymakers ability to travel freely within Europe.

Mark Tanzer, chief executive of ABTA said at the time: “With negotiations taking two years, it is vital that the Government agrees effective transitional arrangements with the EU whilst the finer details of the UK’s exit are worked out.

“This will give consumers and businesses confidence to carry on booking and travelling and enable one of Britain and Europe’s leading industries to continue to thrive.”