Britain’s tourism industry is feeling the effects of Brexit.
On Thursday, Paddy O’Brien, chief executive of the UK’s National Travel & Tourism Council, said that Britain’s international tourism market was “increasingly fragile.” Britain expects to post the lowest level of inward visitors since 2001.
Visitors dropped by 7.7 percent in June and September of this year compared to the same period in 2017. Their total expenditure also fell by an estimated $2.34 billion (3.2 billion pounds). While this is the lowest since 2001, it does represent a rebound compared to 2016, when the numbers dropped by 10.6 percent.
The drop is significantly attributed to the declines of U.S. and Chinese tourists, who together account for 30 percent of total visitors. U.S. visitors were down by 13.1 percent, while Chinese visitors dropped by 9.3 percent.
Those numbers are down on 2016, when visitors dropped by just 4.7 percent, which was still the lowest decrease since 2001.
“While demand from Australia and Japan is growing, they are not able to fill the gaps in the demand of Chinese and U.S. visitors,” O’Brien added.
The UK’s tourism industry, which employs around 2.1 million people and attracts a total of nearly £100 billion in annual revenue, has long been under stress, as the union has struggled to balance trade tariffs with the EU and have a trading relationship.
A report on Monday from BDO law firm found that the impact of Brexit could reduce the number of tourists to the UK by 75 percent by 2030. The Brexit bill, which was defeated by Parliament on Tuesday, could only worsen these numbers.
Several countries have already voiced their reservations over travel to the UK in the coming months, as both domestic and international tourism suffers.
Earlier this year, a travel trade group and trade organization for tourists in the U.S. said that less than one-third of American travelers intended to visit Britain in the first half of next year. In July, the president of the U.S. Travel Association said that “the focus is shifting away from the UK.”