The quick and easy answer is to say that it does. Seaside resorts want sunshine to attract you but when you get there, the galleries, museums, piers and theatre shows want a bit of rain in the morning to encourage you to go and attend their performances in the afternoon. It was widely said that the reasons Scots don’t holiday at home is because there is the little sun in the winter so they head abroad where the sun is virtually guaranteed. And on a wet day, you look for things you can go to inside rather than get drenched or cold outside.
It makes sense then, to go to somewhere that combines a range of indoor and outdoor activities I would have thought. And that is what most of the UK offers. And that may contribute to the announcement from Visit Britain this morning that tourism could grow by 60% and create a quarter of a million jobs over the next few years. Obviously, the Olympics will have a short-term boost in visitors (there can be a downturn afterward) but the mammoth coverage given at the time will show bits of the UK to the world that they might not know. The same might apply to the Ryder Cup. If Wales can be shown to advantage and the media don’t just concentrate on the Celtic Manor Resort then tourism could grow. You and I might see pictures of somewhere nearby and think that would be a pretty place to visit when the golf is over. Hey, presto. Tourism expands.
The reason I mention the weather is because, despite the failure of the weather TV channel over here, it still is something that we all discuss. So I was interested to see some comments from David Edwards at Visit Britain. He is head of research there and says that Britain is not a place people come to get a tan. Visitors come for the heritage and the culture. The perception, of Britain, he says is that it is grey and rainy but that it doesn’t put people off. From visitors from the Middle and Far East, our cooler summer temperatures are preferred to the high forties celsius temperatures they get. And the Japanese are wrapt over the gardens that we have. He says that the weather effect on visitors coming to see us is negligible.
So maybe the new report from Visit Britain might be right in its forecasts.