Overseas Travel and Tourism – December 2005

London, 8 February/GNN/ —

NATIONAL STATISTICS News Release (ott) issued by The Government News Network
on 8 February 2006
Coverage United Kingdom
Theme Transport, Travel and Tourism

In the three months to December 2005, compared with the previous three months,
the seasonally adjusted results from the International Passenger
Survey showed that:

* Overseas residents’ visits to the UK increased in number by 3 per cent to
7.5 million
* Overseas earnings increased by 10 per cent to £3,690 million
* UK residents’ visits abroad remained broadly the same at 16.5 million
* UK residents’ expenditure abroad increased by 1 per cent to £8,030 million
* The difference between earnings and expenditure resulted in a deficit to the
UK of £4,330 million, £250 million smaller than in the previous three months

Overseas visitors to the UK
The estimated number of overseas residents’ visits to the UK, seasonally
adjusted, in the three months to December 2005 increased by 3 per cent to
7.5 million compared with the previous three months and increased by 2 per
cent compared with the three months to December 2004.

The total number of overseas residents’ visits to the UK, not seasonally
adjusted, increased by 8 per cent during the 12 months ending in December
2005 compared with a year earlier (from 27.8 million to 30.0 million).

This was as a result of the number of visits from Western Europe increasing
by 8 per cent (to 19.3 million), visits from North America decreasing by 3
per cent (to 4.2 million) and visits from other parts of the world increasing
by 18 per cent (to 6.4 million). (Tables 1 and 2)

UK residents’ visits abroad

The estimated number of UK residents’ visits abroad, seasonally adjusted, in
the three months to December 2005 remained broadly the same at 16.5 million
compared with the previous three months and decreased by 1 per cent compared
with the three months to December 2004.

The total number of UK residents’ visits overseas, not seasonally adjusted,
increased by 3 per cent during the 12 months ending in December 2005 compared
with a year earlier (from 64.2 million to 66.3 million).

This was as a result of the number of visits to Western Europe increasing by
1 per cent (to 50.0 million), visits to North America increasing by 3 per
cent (to 4.9 million) and visits to other parts of the world increasing by
16 per cent (to 11.3 million). (Tables 1 and 3)

Overseas earnings and expenditure
Comparing the three months to December 2005, seasonally adjusted, with the
previous three months, total spending by overseas visitors to the UK (earnings)
increased by 10 per cent to £3.7 billion and spending by UK residents overseas
(expenditure) increased by 1 per cent to £8.0 billion. This resulted in a
deficit to the UK of £4.3 billion, compared with £4.6 billion in the three
months to September 2005.

During the 12 months ending December 2005, not seasonally adjusted, overseas
earnings increased by 9 per cent to £14.3 billion and expenditure by UK
residents increased by 6 per cent to £32.2 billion compared with the previous
year. This resulted in a deficit to the UK of £17.9 billion compared with
£17.2 billion during the same period to December 2004. (Table1 and 4)

Revisions
Tables R and R1 show the size and direction of revisions which have occurred
since the Overseas Travel and Tourism First Release was last published on
11 January 2006. Revisions have been made to seasonally adjusted monthly
estimates for 2005 to reflect the annual totals for the year. These revisions
are in line with IPS planned revisions policy (see background note 3).

BACKGROUND NOTES
1. The figures in this First Release are based on provisional results from
the International Passenger Survey (IPS). The IPS is a sample survey and
therefore the results are subject to sampling errors. Detailed analyses for
Quarter 3 of 2005 may be obtained from the publication MQ6 Overseas Travel
and Tourism. Further information and a full breakdown of the figures for 2004
can be obtained from the annual report, Travel Trends (ISBN 1-4039-9309-2)
which was published on 24 November 2005. Travel Trends and MQ6 Overseas
Travel and Tourism and a compact dataset, Travelpac (giving a selection of
variables drawn from the survey) are available from the National Statistics
website, www.statistics.gov.uk.

2. The main series are seasonally adjusted. This aids interpretation by
identifying seasonal patterns and smoothing them out of the unadjusted
data. The resulting figures give a more accurate indication of the underlying
trend.

3. Figures for the most recent months are provisional and subject to revision
in light of (a) more accurate data on passenger figures becoming available
at the end of each quarter and (b) additional passenger data obtained at
the end of the year, and the subsequent revisions to seasonally adjusted
estimates that these entail.

In addition, ONS has recently begun to publish revisions triangles
on the National Statistics website. Details can be found at :
http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/article.asp?ID=1026

There are no methodological changes in the next 12 months that might require
any other planned revisions to estimates.

4. One indication of the reliability of the key indicators in this release
can be obtained by monitoring the size of revisions. The table below records
the size and pattern of revisions which have occurred over the last 5 years
(from 1998 Q4 to 2002 Q4) to the following key, seasonally adjusted, estimates:

* the number of visits by overseas residents to the UK (GMAT),
* earnings made from overseas residents in the UK (GMAZ),
* the number of visits abroad by UK residents (GMAX), and
* expenditure abroad by UK residents (GMBB).

A statistical test has been applied to find out if there is any bias in
revisions to these key indicators by examining the average size and direction
of revisions over this period. An asterisk(*) indicates where statistically
significant bias has been found. Spreadsheets giving revisions triangles
(real time databases) of estimates or the period illustrated in the table
and the calculations behind the averages shown, are available on the National
Statistics website at:
http://www.statistics.gov.uk/StatBase/Product.asp?vlnk=8168

Please note that all estimates, including revised estimates, are based on
a sample survey and are therefore subject to sampling and other sources of
error. Further information on ONS revisions policy can be found at:
http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/article.asp?ID=793

5. With the enlargement of the European Union on 1 May 2004, there is
considerable interest in the number of visits to the UK from these accession
countries. To aid the understanding of what is happening, ONS is making
available additional analyses of visits to the UK based on IPS data. These
show the numbers of visits made by overseas residents who are nationals
of the European Union, separating out those countries who were EU members
before 1 May 2004 and the accession countries. These analyses can be found at :
http://www.statistics.gov.uk/statbase/product.asp?vlnk=12222

6. Abbreviations used in the tables:
NA ……. not available
SA ……. seasonally adjusted
NSA ……. not seasonally adjusted
+ ……. point of earliest revision
1 ……. estimate (rounded to nearest 10,000 visits or £5 million)
- ……. no change (in revision tables)

7. Geographical areas:
North America:
Canada (including Greenland and St Pierre et Miquelon),
USA (including Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands).

Western Europe:
Austria, Belgium, Channel Isles, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Former Yugoslavia,
France (including Monaco), Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Iceland, Irish Republic,
Isle of Man, Italy (including San Marino and Vatican City), Luxembourg,
Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal (including Azores and Madeira), Spain
(including Canary Islands, Balearic Islands and Andorra), Sweden, Switzerland
(including Lichtenstein), Turkey.

8. Constituent items in the tables may not add exactly to totals due to
rounding.

9. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available
from the press office. Also available is a list of the names of those given
prepublication access to the contents of this release.

10. National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out
in the National Statistics Code of Practice. They undergo regular quality
assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced
free from any political interference. (c) Crown Copyright 2006.

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