Foreign travellers visiting UK down 73% in 2020

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London, May 25 (IANS) A new study has revealed that foreign travellers made 11.1 million visits to the UK in 2020, a 73 per cent decline than in 2019 in the wave of the border restriction imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The dramatic impact of Covid-19 on the number of UK-bound travellers was revealed for the first time in the study published on Monday by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Xinhua news agency reported.

During 2020, overseas residents spent 6.2 billion pounds ($8.76 billion) on their visits to the UK, 78 per cent less than in 2019, ONS said.

Meanwhile, UK residents made 23.8 million visits abroad in 2020, 74 per cent less than the previous year and they spent 13.8 billion pounds on such travels, 78 per cent less than in 2019.

ONS said travel and tourism statistics are usually based on the results of the International Passenger Survey (IPS), but the survey was suspended in March 2020 due to the pandemic.

The new figures published by ONS for April to December 2020 have been based on administrative sources and modelling by statisticians.

The figures were added to data collected in the three months before the pandemic.

According to ONS, visits by North American residents decreased by 78 per cent to 1.2 million, visits by European residents were down by 71 per cent to 8 million and visits by residents of “other countries” outside of Europe and North America decreased by 76 per cent to 1.9 million.