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Britons cut down on foreign trips during recession

Source: Reuters - Thu 15th Jul 2010

Overseas visits fell by 15 percent in total to 58.6 million, the fastest rate of decline seen since the 1970s when foreign travel started to become a more regular feature of British life rather than a luxury.

The British economy contracted by 6.4 percent between the second quarter of 2008 and the third quarter of 2009 when a fragile recovery took hold.

A decline in the value of sterling against the dollar and the euro would also have diluted demand for foreign travel when Britons were tightening their belts.

Visits to Britain by foreign residents fell by 6.3 percent to 29.9 million overall, with inbound business travel declining by 19 percent.

However, earnings from visits to Britain edged up to 16.6 billion pounds from 16.3 billion.

London remained the most popular city for foreign visitors by a large margin, followed by Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow.

British spending overseas fell to 31.7 billion pounds, a drop of 5.1 billion.

Egypt, Jamaica and Lithuania bucked the negative trend, attracting more British tourists. Visits to Mexico dropped by 41 percent.

Most Britons head to European countries like France or Spain if they travel abroad, and the United States also remains a popular destination.

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