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Veteran travelers still have plenty of places to explore in the U.K.

Jess McHugh
January 27, 2017

Travel from North America to the U.K. has soared in the months following the June 2016 referendum vote to leave the European Union, according to newly released data.

As uncertainty rose in the months following the vote and the British government sought to clarify what a so-called Brexit would look like, the value of the pound fell against the dollar, making it cheaper for U.S. residents to travel to England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Arrivals to the U.K. from North America were up nearly 7 percent in the period from July to October 2016 compared to that same time period in 2015, according to new statistics released by data benchmarking company STR and the travel forecasting company Tourism Economics. And the increased arrivals are only expected to continue in 2017, Thomas Emanuel, the director of business development for STR, told Travel + Leisure.

“We’d expect the trend to continue, and I think the key driver of the trend is obviously the depreciation of pound sterling,” he said.

The analysis used numbers from the Office for National Statistics, as well as STR’s own survey data from some 3,500 hotels. Business travel saw a slight dip in numbers, while the research predicted that summer 2017 would see a boom in vacation travelers.

Destinations outside of London, including some of the lesser-visited cities in the U.K., also saw a spike. In 2016, revenue per available room—a hotel earning metric—in Belfast was up 9 percent; Birmingham was up 8.2 percent, and Edinburgh jumped 7.1 percent year over year.

“It’s a comfortable place for Americans to be,” Emanuel said of the U.K., noting the similar cultural values and shared language. “Our ties historically and culturally go back many years.”

The research comes as U.S. President Donald Trump and U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May prepare to meet for the first time at the White House on Friday.

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