The Pound’s Decline Hasn’t Done Much to Boost U.K. Tourism
A collection of British five pound banknotes sit in this arranged photograph in London, U.K. (Photographer: Miles Willis/Bloomberg)

The Pound’s Decline Hasn’t Done Much to Boost U.K. Tourism

(Bloomberg) --

Brexit has sent the pound sterling plummeting and made holidays in the U.K. cheaper, but that hasn’t made Britain a more attractive place to visit.

According to the World Economic Forum’s tourism rankings, released on Wednesday, the U.K. actually fell from fifth to sixth most competitive nation for travel this year. Among the top 10 countries, it was the only nation to drop in the rankings, overtaken by the U.S.

The fall was due to a decrease in Britain’s score for international openness, for which Britain now ranks 23rd in the world, and for its business environment.

The pound plummeted when Britain voted to leave the European Union in 2016, losing over 13% of its value against the dollar within two weeks. This week it fell below $1.20, a level not seen since January 2017, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson indicated he may push for a general election if parliament voted to delay Brexit again.

In theory a fall in the value of a country’s currency should be a boon for tourism, as it increases the purchasing power of those who earn in different currencies, encouraging foreign visitors. Britain’s drop in the WEF’s rankings suggests other potentially Brexit-related factors may have counteracted the falling pound.

According to the most recent data from the Office for National Statistics, 3.3 million tourists visited Britain last May, down more than 5% from last year.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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