An increase in the number of so-called ‘staycations’ helped the UK to a record year for tourism growth, new figures have shown.
Data released by Visit Britain and Visit England revealed that there was an extra £872 million in visitor spend in the UK over the last 12 months, compared to the previous year.
The figures, released at Visit Britain’s 2016-17 annual review, come on the back of strong growth from inbound tourism. From January to July this year there were a record 23.1 million overseas visits to the UK, up 8% on the same period last year with visitors spending £13.3 billion, up 9%. And VisitBritain is forecasting that overseas visits to the UK will increase 6% to 39.7 million in 2017 with spending up 14% to £25.7 billion by the end of this calendar year.
Encouragingly for the holiday park and campsite sector, British people are also holidaying at home in record numbers – due in part to the fall in the value of the pound following the Brexit vote, which has meant foreign holidays now cost Brits considerably more.
British Tourist Authority Chairman, Steve Ridgway CBE, said the 16% fall in the exchange rate was making visiting Britain even more attractive but had impacted the overseas marketing budgets quite heavily.
“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.”
Tourism Minister John Glen added: “Tourism contributes billions to the UK economy and 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.”