A drop in visitors numbers last year may be reversed by the upturn in the UK economy, Economic Development Minister John Shimmin believes.
Visitors numbers fell by 1 per cent last year, according to the 2013 Passenger Survey - but their overall spending actually increased by 1.6 per cent to £107m.
The survey showed the number visiting friends and relatives fell 8 per cent but the number of leisure visitors staying in paid-for accommodation increased by 5 per cent while business visitors increased by 1.2 per cent.
Mr Shimmin said the upturn in the UK economy, together with greater certainty over air routes, could lead to leisure visitor numbers starting to increase again. ‘There’s reason for optimism,’ he said.
The decline in visiting friends and relatives reflects falling household incomes in the UK, down 7.6 per cent since 2008, which has caused many to reduce discretionary spending.