LONDON, 31 July 2017: The weak pound is doing wonders for international air travel to London, according to the latest Forward Keys assessment.
Tourists are arriving in greater numbers and the relative strength of their currency, making the city on average 9% better value, the report says.
Also travellers are apparently overcoming any concerns about recent terror attacks.
Looking forward, bookings for international arrivals in London continue to be robust, 14% ahead of where they were at the beginning of July last year.
The Americas outbound markets are currently 21% ahead, and Asia Pacific 14% ahead for London arrivals between 1 July and 31 October.
Only the Middle East is lagging, currently 20% behind, compared to the same period in 2016. The lag is due mainly to a fall in the oil price hurting Middle Eastern economies and the timing of Ramadan, which fell earlier this year.
Benchmarked against its European competitor cities, London has the biggest market share of long-haul bookings for arrival between July and October, 12%, as against 9% for Paris and 7% for Rome. So, its growth, currently 14% ahead, is impressive.
During the first half of 2016, total long-haul international arrivals in London were up 16% compared to the same period last year. ForwardKeys research reveals that the big boosts came from the Americas, with a 52% share of long-haul arrivals, up 19%, and Asia Pacific, with a share of 34%, up 14%.
The rapid growth was sparked by the sterling exchange rate falling to its lowest level in thirty years against the dollar in mid-October last year. The ForwardKeys data shows that initially bookings, and consequently arrivals, soared when tourists realised their spending money would go further.
ForwardKeys co-founder and CEO, Olivier Jager said: “This is an obvious and clear demonstration of how currency fluctuations affect travel, even in the face of other significant factors. London is great value at the moment and people are springing at the opportunity for a holiday, costing less than they might have anticipated. It’s also testimony to London’s appeal as a destination and excellent news for all those businesses involved in selling London and the rest of the UK as a destination.”