BBC News today (10 October) reported that tourism to the UK has reached record levels and Britons are also holidaying at home in record numbers with Britain’s beaches and attractions attracting more domestic visitors and “staycations” on the rise.
- Nearly 40 million overseas people are expected to have visited the country during 2017 – a record figure.
- The tourist promotion agency, VisitBritain, forecasts overseas trips to the UK will increase 6% to 39.7 million with spending up 14% to £25.7bn this year.
- During the first six months of the year there were a record 23.1 million overseas visits to the UK – up 8% on the same period in 2016 – and the figures for July topped four million for the first time, with only a slightly smaller number of visits made during August
- From January to June this year, domestic overnight holidays in England rose 7% to a record 20.4 million with visitors spending £4.6bn – a rise of 17% and another record.
Tourism is economic powerhouse
And, The British Tourist Authority (BTA) estimates that tourism is worth £127bn annually to the economy.
BTA Chairman, Steve Ridgway, called the sector an “economic powerhouse” and a “job creator right across Britain”.
“Two-and-a-half times bigger than the automotive industry, employing three million, tourism is one of our most successful exports and needs no trade deals to compete globally.”
Tourism Minister John Glen said: “Tourism contributes billions to the UK economy and supports millions of jobs.” He added that the record figures for overseas and domestic holidaymakers were “testament to our world-class attractions and the innovation of our tourism industry”.
Call for continued investment
Authorities suggest that one of the driving forces has been that the UK has become a cheaper place to visit for tourists from overseas following the fall in the value of the pound since the Brexit vote last year.
But Mr Ridgeway said: “Tourism is a fiercely competitive global industry and you cannot just build a strong, resilient industry on a weaker currency.
“We must continue to invest in developing world-class tourism products, getting Britain on the wish-list of international and domestic travellers and we must make it easy for visitors to make that trip.”
A good time to look at hospitality finance
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