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VisitBritain hails ‘spectacular year’ for UK tourism but 2013 outlook remains uncertain

2 commentsBy Luke Nicholls , 30-Nov-2012
Last updated on 30-Nov-2012 at 13:56 GMT

Related topics: Business, Events & Awards, Trends & Reports, Tourism, Hotels

The London 2012 Olympics and Queen’s Diamond Jubilee have contributed to a record-breaking year for inbound UK tourism, injecting 18.7bn into the national economy. But the outlook for 2013 ‘are inevitably uncertain’, according to VisitBritain.

Over £1.5bn in overseas PR was generated around the London 2012 Olympics and Queen's Diamond Jubilee

Over £1.5bn in overseas PR was generated around the London 2012 Olympics and Queen's Diamond Jubilee

The tourist board today published its 2012 annual review, outlining what it calls a ‘spectacular year’ for inbound tourism – the 12 million visits marked a 5 per cent rise year-on-year, with records broken in six of the past 12 months.

“This country’s tourism offer is about much more than growth in visitor numbers,” said VisitBritain’s chairman Christopher Rodriques upon the launch of the review. “Tourism offers not just jobs but careers for life. It employs young people who are now in training to become Ambassadors for Britain, welcoming visitors to their hotels, attractions and shops – taking on the mantle of the Games Makers.

“Tourism is also a key contributor to a country's image overseas – it influences not just whether people come for a week’s holiday but also what they think of us as a nation, whether they choose to invest in British business and whether they relocate their families to live here and their companies to operate here. Tourism is soft power in action.”

Olympics optimism

A central focus of the year was to use the Games to generate worldwide coverage of Britain’s attractions, a strategy that has resulted in 14,000 positive print and broadcast stories about the UK in the world’s media in the first six months of this financial year - the equivalent of over £1.5bn in advertising.

VisitBritain’s work as an organisation overseas also contributed £503m to the UK economy in 2011-12, while its match-funded marketing with partners has resulted in additional bookings worth £89m.

The review concludes with a look into the future, which outlines that the US and Europe remain our biggest source of visitors but face the fiscal cliff and continuing Eurozone uncertainty respectively.

Empty 2013?

VisitBritain’s best estimate is that the volume of international tourism to Britain will continue to grow, by 3 per cent, meaning almost one million extra visitors will come to the UK in 2013. And their spend is forecast to reach £19bn for the first time, representing further growth of 2.5 per cent.

Rodriques believes it is the job of tourism and hospitality businesses to ‘keep the extraordinary spirit of the London 2012 Olympics alive in our visitor welcome’.

“Our job now is to turn aspiration into action,” he said. “And the best way to do that is to continue the exceptional levels of collaboration between the industry, the public sector and the Government that we saw in 2012.”

2 comments (Comments are now closed)

Accommodation Numbers well down in the Forest of Dean

Totally agree with Stratford gentleman - B&Bs in the Forest of Dean suffered their worst figures for years. Visit Britain needs to look at small operators in the "sticks" before making such bold comments about 2012.

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Posted by Caroline Anderson
08 December 2012 | 11h27

They certainly did not come to Stratford upon Avon!!!

Having traded successfully for many years as a 4 star Guest House 2012 has been our worst year for visitors which has had the consequential knock on effect with shops and restaurants in the Town.
Visit Britain should ask the accommodation providers in Stratford before publishing such headlines

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Posted by Peter Halford
03 December 2012 | 23h37

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