The weakening pound against the euro could be the ‘silver lining’ the hospitality industry needs to survive the ‘cloud of recession’ next year, according to industry body the Tourism Alliance.
But the government must act quick to attract foreign visitors by increasing its tourism marketing spend or the benefits will be short-lived, it warned.
Today the pound dropped to 95p per euro, making the UK a financially more attractive destination for Europeans and Europe less so for Brits.
“The fall in the value of the pound represents a 21 per cent saving for people travelling to the UK from the Eurozone and 27 per cent for those from the USA. This makes the UK the value destination for overseas visitors undertaking holidays during 2009 and means that a holiday at home is now the best option for British residents,” said Tourism Alliance chairman Bob Cotton (pictured).
"The sudden change in the UK’s competitive position as a tourism destination is something of a potential silver lining to the cloud of recession for communities and businesses throughout Britain, provided that the nation invests wisely to achieve it."
The news is positive for the hotel industry which experienced a sharp decline in room rate, yield and occupancy in November.
According to figures released by PKF, the average occupancy in London dropped by 6 per cent, resulting in a fall in room rate of 5.6 per cent from an average of £137 to £129 on the same time last year.
Now the Tourism Alliance is supporting VisitBritain and Visit England in seeking additional funding from the government to develop and implement an “Explore Britain” campaign to boost domestic and overseas marketing in the New Year.
Cotton said: "The booking period for the summer market is February to April next year so we need to act very quickly on this. Ironically, the economic turmoil has given us this competitive advantage, which we must exploit for the long term benefit of Britain`s economy.
"As the Government struggles to find opportunities for economic growth, there is one clear option: to invest in tourism, as the industry has asked and as the all party Select Committee has endorsed. We cannot just wish our way to a `Prosperous New Year`."