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April 12, 2010

UNITED KINGDOM BOOKINGS TO THE UNITED STATES

2009 Ends Weak on Bookings

  • According to the U.S. Department of Commerce-sponsored United Kingdom Travel Trade Barometer, United Kingdom bookings to the United States ended 2009 on a disappointing note, leading the trend of declines registered from other countries in 2009.
  • United Kingdom tour operators reported (as of January 25 – March 3, 2010) that 2009 bookings were down 10 to 15 percent, on average, compared to 2008.
  • Most concerning, 16 percent of the trade reported bookings decreased 16 to 20 percent year-over-year.

First Quarter 2010 Bookings Projected to be Flat

  • For the first quarter 2010, United Kingdom tour operators (two-fifths of the trade) projected that bookings to the United States would be about the same as in the first quarter 2009.
  • At the same time, approximately one-fifth of the trade projected higher bookings in the first quarter 2010 compared to the same period in 2009.
  • In contrast, three-in-ten of the trade still projected lower (26 percent) and much lower (five percent) bookings.

Second Quarter 2010 Bookings Continue to be Flat

  • United Kingdom bookings for the second quarter 2010 (at the time of the January/March 2010 survey) were projected to be about the same as the second quarter 2009. During this quarter, 52 percent of the trade projected bookings to be flat.
  • In contrast, just over one quarter (26 percent) of the trade still projected lower (21 percent) and much lower (five percent) bookings for the second quarter, compared to last year. Approximately 16 percent of the trade projected second quarter 2010 bookings to be higher.

Travel Motivators and Deterrents

  • In the next six months, the top three factors rated as motivators for bookings to the United States were accommodation rates, the exchange rate to the U.S. dollar and airfares.
  • The primary barriers for travel to the United States were reported to be competitive promotion by other long-haul destinations, visa processing time and the United Kingdom economy.

Actual United Kingdom Arrivals to the United States: Annual 2009 and Fourth Quarter 2009

  • Actual 2009 arrivals from the United Kingdom totaled 3.9 million, decreasing 15 percent when compared to 2008.
  • Fourth quarter 2009 arrivals from the United Kingdom totaled 993,000, down 11 percent compared to fourth quarter 2008.
    • In October 2009, United Kingdom arrivals totaled 403,000, down eight percent when compared to October 2008.
    • Visitation slowed in November 2009, totaling only 274,000, decreasing 16 percent when compared to November 2008.
    • In December 2009, arrivals from the United Kingdom were 317,000, down 11 percent when compared to December 2008.

BACKGROUD AND SOURCE:
Travel Market Insights (www.travelmi.com) conducts the Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, Germany and Japan Travel Trade Barometer programs. The U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, is a sponsor and was the initial developer of the barometer program. The Barometer program is conducted with support from the U.S. Commercial Service and various Visit USA Committees and additional sponsors.

Travel Market Insights conducts the Japan Travel Trade Barometer in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, Sloan Travel and Tourism Industry Center/University of South Carolina and the National Tour Association. The Japan Travel Trade Barometer program is also conducted in partnership with Japan Tourism Marketing and the Japan Visit USA Committee.

The Travel Trade Barometer survey is conducted on a quarterly basis in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan 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 travel segments; 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://tinet.ita.doc.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