VisitBritain expects 5 pc rise in spend by international tourists in 2024

VisitBritain to hold annual review on May 22
2024-05-22
/
/ New Delhi
Visit Britain
VisitBritain expects 5 pc rise in spend by international tourists in 2024

According to the latest tourism forecasts made by VisitBritain, GBP 32.5 billion will be spent by international visitors in the UK this year

Ahead of its annual review event, to be held on May 22, VisitBritain says it expects 38.7 million international visitors in the current year and total spending by foreign tourists to rise 5 pc to GBP 32.5 billion.
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A report by Britain’s tourism promotion agency, VisitBritain says that visitors spent an additional GBP 1.26 billion across Britain as a result of its activity.

In a press statement, VisitBritain says that it means that for every pound invested in the agency, visitors spent an additional GBP 15 in Britain. 

The agency says it reported the figures, which cover its activity from April 2021 to July 2023, as it brought industry leaders together at its annual review event ‘Working in partnership to drive a thriving tourism industry,’ outlining its priorities and activities to support the sector and grow the visitor economy.

According to the latest tourism forecasts made by VisitBritain, GBP 32.5 billion will be spent by international visitors in the UK this year, up 5 pc on 2023, and up 14 pc on 2019. Looking at visits to the UK, 38.7 million visits are forecast, up 2 pc on the 38 million seen in 2023 however still 5 pc shy of 2019 levels.

Domestically, the agency says, its latest research shows that more than a third of Brits, about 35 pc, are more likely to choose a UK trip rather than an overseas trip in the next 12 months compared to the previous year.  

Nick de Bois

Nick de Bois

“With the summer season fast approaching it is timely to shine the spotlight on the importance of Britain’s outstanding tourism industry. An industry worth GBP 127 billion a year to the economy, our third largest service export, a growth industry and a job creator, with huge potential to fire up regional economies. Working in partnership with industry and Government, getting the right structures and policies in place, we can boost Britain’s competitive position, unlock growth and drive inward investment so more local communities feel tourism’s benefits, and not within years but within months,” says Nick de Bois, Chairman, British Tourist Authority.

Looking at inbound tourism to the UK, he adds while it had been fantastic to see the double-digit growth in visitor spending from the United States (US) as well as the overall growth forecast this year on 2023, there had been a slow-down in the pace of recovery and there was fierce competition from European neighbours.

To drive spending to Britain, VisitBritain’s international GREAT Britain campaigns would be focused on markets showing strong growth, including the US, its largest and most valuable market, forecast to be worth GBP 6.3 billion in 2024, as well as Australia, the valuable Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and its major European markets.

He says that tourism also framed how people around the world saw Britain, building positive perceptions, and those who have visited were 19 pc more likely to invest in British products and businesses. Tourism was also a competitive global industry and visitors have a lot of choice.

“Britain ranks highly for its history and heritage and contemporary culture and sport, but perceptions are not as strong for its natural beauty and perceived welcome. To counter this VisitBritain’s international GREAT campaigns promote Britain’s welcome, inspiring visitors to discover more, stay longer and to drive that sense of urgency to come now,” he adds.

The statement adds that looking ahead VisitBritain would be using the powerful pull of screen tourism and the booming set-jetting trend to boost inbound tourism. Its upcoming Starring GREAT Britain campaign would be putting filming locations and associated visitor experiences centre-stage, telling the story of Britain’s regional diversity to drive visits and spend across the regions.  

The tourism body says that besides its global campaigns VisitBritain is working with partners across its major inbound markets, including British Airways in the US and Wego in the Gulf, to convert the interest to visit Britain into bookings now, generating GBP 6.1 million of additional cash and marketing-in-kind activity alone across the last financial year.

It adds that its work with international trade had ensured British products and destinations are sold internationally, hosting major trade missions to markets showing growth, connecting hundreds of British businesses with international buyers and generating an additional GBP 47 million in sales. As well as leisure travel, it is supporting the business events industry to win international conferences and exhibitions, with its grants programme supporting events worth GBP 20.9 million to the economy.  

Many businesses are battling rising costs and staff shortages while competing for visitors. Supporting our industry will continue to be at the heart of our strategic activity. Working with the government and industry we will play our part in building a more resilient, sustainable and accessible visitor economy, making the strongest possible case for tourism and cementing the future of one of our greatest industries,” says de Bois.

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