The summer may be over but tourism businesses are being told to brace themselves for an increase in inbound holiday visitors this year.
A report by VisitBritain/ VisitEngland predicts record 39.7 million overseas tourists will descend on the UK in 2017. That’s up by 6 per cent on 2016.
Businesses are being told that the increase arises from the 16 per cent fall in the exchange rate. 23.1 million overseas visits to the UK have been recorded from January to July 2017 and visitor spending rose by 9 per cent to £13.3 billion.
UK Minister for Tourism, John Glen, said:
“Tourism contributes billions to the UK economy, supports millions of jobs and is the lifeblood for many communities across the country. We have seen record-breaking inbound visits and spend this summer, which is testament to our world-class attractions and the innovation of our tourism industry.
“Internationally we are performing strongly in a hugely competitive market and I will continue to work closely with the sector to maintain growth, get the best possible deal as we exit the EU and retain the UK’s position as the must-visit destination.”
Brits are also taking more holidays at home. From January to June this year, domestic overnight holidays in England rose 7 per cent to a record 20.4 million with visitors spending £4.6 billion, up 17 per cent and a record.
A campaign led by British Tourist Authority Chairman, Steve Ridgway CBE is underway for a sector deal under the Government’s Industrial Strategy. The tourism sector deal bid sets out 4 points to improve skills and connections, boost productivity and create ‘tourism zones’ to build quality tourism products.
Mr. Ridgway said:
“Tourism is an economic powerhouse, worth £127 billion annually to the economy 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 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.”