The number of visitors to Britain fell in the three months to November, and Britons took fewer trips abroad, according to official figures that suggest the global economic slowdown is hitting the travel industry.
The Office for National Statistics said Thursday that 7.6 million people visited Britain in the three months to Nov. 30, down 5 percent from the same period in 2007. Britons took 16.4 million trips abroad in the same period, a 6 percent fall.
The total number of visitors for the year to November was 32.4 million, down 1 percent from a year earlier.
The steepest fall was in North American visitors _ down 12 percent in the year to November despite a recent dramatic weakening of the pound against the U.S. dollar.
Christopher Rodrigues, executive chairman of national tourism agency VisitBritain, said the government should fund a campaign "to remind potential travelers in the eurozone and America of Britain's new affordability and persuade them to come here now."
"Whatever December's figures bring, 2008 will have been a challenging year for British tourism and 2009 could see job losses as travelers tighten their belts," he said.