Articles tagged with: Visit Britain
Which are the most popular places to go in the UK for overseas visitors? Counting how many of us visit our own cities isn’t easy but for those coming from abroad, the International Passenger Survey provides some answers and now, Visit Britain has played looked at the data and come up with some answers.
It is becoming a little difficult to work out whether we are travelling more or not. And if we are, what it means. You might have heard yesterday that the royal wedding caused a dip in our economic growth in the second quarter of the year. As did the tsunami, the Indian summer, the sale of Olympic tickets and probably the fact that I wore blue socks on the day. I would have thought the royal wedding was good for the economy because it encouraged visitors to come into the country and us to travel about over that four day holiday. But what do I know?
Visit Britain have announced the results of a survey on where overseas visitors go when they visit us. There are some interesting results. Overseas visitors spend £2 billion on trips to our coastlines. Not only do we like going there but so do the Germans, French and Americans. Even the Swiss are the 10th most likely group to visit the coast. And why do the Chinese and Russians visit it in larger numbers than our big neighbours and largest group of overall visitors, the French?
Both the UK and Ireland have identified the importance of the USA as a source of visitors. New York has more flights to the UK and Ireland than any other destination in the country. Both Visit Britain and Tourism Ireland have offices in New York. Why, then, was there so little representation from either country at the New York Times Travel Show?
As the new year starts, countries around the world are planning on how much to spend promoting their countries not just to us but the whole world. All countries want more visitors because, of course, it boosts their economies. Thailand, for example, has announced that it wants $196 million (say about £125 million) for 2012. Norway, on the other hand, is spending just £300,000 on the UK this year. And how much is the UK planning to spend? That’s not known yet but last year the government challenged the industry to raise £100 million to promote the country over the next 4 years. They will announce, in the spring, how they plan to spend the money. But the £100 million has been raised.
As I said yesterday, one of the interesting features of the Visit Britain report is the amount of money that is spent in different places. The figures will be an estimate of course, but they are as good a guide as we are likely to get. And what they show is intriguing. Take London for example. You would expect an overseas visitor to pay more there because it is a more expensive place. Hotels, public transport and restaurant bills will all be more expensive but the difference on how much is spent there compared to elsewhere in our countries is quite wide.
That, according to Visit Britain, is what is attracting people to that part of the country. This is one of many results to be found in a report snappily titled, “Activities Undertaken by Visitors from Overseas in Different Parts of Britain.” But there is a lot on this report to digest, not just the interesting bits that say why visitors go to different regions of our countries. Just as interesting is how much they spend in those regions and the disparities that arise.
This won’t come as news to any of you unless you’ve managed not to see TV, read a newspaper, look at the internet or talk to anyone in the last 36 hours. I’d almost be prepared to bet that lost tribes up the Amazon have heard about it. Whales are probably distributing the news via their low frequency sonar system to pods around the world so that even the animal kingdom knows. And talking of Wales, the first minister sent a brief and correct cordial message of congratulations to the happy couple.
Unlike Visit Scotland and Visit Britain which have decided this presents too good an opportunity not to trumpet the tourism potential of their areas.
One of the pleasant features of flying first thing in the morning on the British Airways shuttle to Edinburgh, Glasgow or Manchester, (I can’t speak for the others having never flown the routes) is that they serve you a hot English breakfast. Bacon, sausage, scrambled egg, tomato and mushrooms are served along with orange juice, a roll and tea and coffee. On flights further afield on BA I’ve had the same. Before I catch the train to 7.10 Leeds from London Kings Cross, I have time to nip round the corner and get a proper breakfast from a greasy spoon. (they know how to give decent portions)
Now Visit Britain has published research showing that the rest of the world rather fancies trying a full English as well. Forget for a moment whether it should be called an English or British breakfast as there are slight changes in Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Our notion of what is breakfast is what they want to try.
What Have the Tourist Boards Ever Done For Us?
It’s a facetious question of course. They are there to provide us with information and suggestions of where we might holiday. They are a support group who, when we are stranded for ideas or accommodation, ride to the rescue. But they are undergoing change and what we have now may be different in the future. The main regionaltourist authorities such as South West Tourism and Welcome To Yorkshire are funded by the regional development agencies. But this are being wound up by the government. Funding will come from elsewhere but it has led to cutbacks already. South West Tourism will cease to exist as from next April and Cumbria Tourism has faced large cutbacks already.
Last year there was a lot of anecdotal evidence that more of us were visiting castles and heritage. You might remember Sir Thomas Ingleby from Ripley Castle in North Yorkshire saying that his visitor figures were up and Dover Castle has announced a 35% increase in visitors. Now there is more widespread evidence from Visit Britain that it our heritage that draws visitors.
No this isn’t a salacious tabloid story but David Cameron made a speech on tourism and, as holidaymakers, we are all involved. Or should be. As I wrote a couple of days ago, I can’t remember the last time any Prime Minister paid any more than lip service to it. Yes, there was praise and comment at the appropriate time but hard-core support was limited. Will this time be any different?
Everyone travels, holidays or has a day out so everyone is affected and should be interested. But did the PM ask what we want?
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 little sun in the winter so they head abroad where 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
UPDATE: Due to the election and the rush by the government to get legislation through, this tax alteration has been dropped. That’s not to say it may not be reintroduced if Labour wins the election but, for the time being, things remain as they are.
Unless you own property that is used as a holiday letting, you may not be aware of the new tax rules that come into being from April 6th. A lot of owners are giving serious consideration to selling up or stopping making their cottages and houses available as holiday lets so there could be a shortage available in the future.
What has brought this about?
The phrase above is the slogan that Visit Britain us using as part of its advertising campaign to encourage Americans to come and see us. The slogan thought up by Californian, Jay Masunaga, in a competition designed to publicise Britain as a holiday destination for the gay community.
To complement the promotion, Visit Britain has also come up with categories of people to whom Britain would appeal. These are Foodies, Night Owls, Event-Goers, Culturati, Chillers and Fashionistas. You can guess what most of these are but how about Chillers
Research from Visit Britain last week suggested that people might be cutting back on many things but a holiday is increasingly seen as protected.Why?Well the research showed that people said they were cutting back on food (77%), fuel (69%) and clothes (64%). Only 48% of us were intending to, or had, cut back on holidays.Is [...]