Forecasts from VisitBritain, the national tourism agency, indicate that 2017 is set to be another record year for inbound tourism to the UK. Spending by overseas visitors is predicted to reach £24.1 billion in 2017, an 8% increase on spending this year which is expected to top out at £22.3 billion. The number of overseas visitors to the UK is expected to rise next year to 38.1 million visits, up 4% on 2016 which is likely to see about 36.7 million visits by year end.
VisitBritain Chief Executive Sally Balcombe said “These figures not only underpin a longer-term pattern of growth for inbound tourism, one of our fastest growing export industries, but also demonstrates its growing importance as a key driver for economic growth and jobs. With our hotels, shops and attractions all offering excellent value for overseas visitors right now, it’s a great time to come to Britain. Through our strategic partnerships and global marketing campaigns we are converting aspiration to visit into bookings, ensuring that the economic benefits of tourism are spread across all of Britain’s nations and regions.”
VisitBritain’s campaigns have continued to produce results and generated an extra £800 million across the nations and regions of Britain during the last year. Every £1 the Government invests in VisitBritain for international marketing, has resulted in an overseas visitor spending £23 here in Britain.
Promoting the diversity of Britain’s tourism offer across all its nations and regions will continue in 2017 through a range of activities, events and celebrations:
- England’s ‘Year of Literary Heroes’ will celebrate literary anniversaries and milestones
- Wales will pay tribute to epic myths and legends of yore with the ‘Year of Legends’
- Scotland is set to celebrate its rich past during the ‘Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology’
Following on from a year which has seen anniversaries celebrated for William Shakespeare, Beatrix Potter, Charlotte Bronte and Roald Dahl, the literary theme continues next year with special events to commemorate:
- The 20th anniversary of the first Harry Potter book – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
- The 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen
- The 125th anniversary of the first Sherlock Holmes publication
Tourism is Britain’s seventh largest export industry and third largest service sector. The industry is also a major job creator, for example every 22 additional Chinese visitors that come to Britain create an additional job in the sector.
Inbound tourism was worth more than £26 billion to the UK economy in 2013.