First Quarter Growth
The latest figures released by VisitBritain show strong growth from markets including the US, Germany and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the first quarter of 2016, underpinning the best ever first quarter for total inbound visits. The Office for National Statistics results show that from January to March this year visits from the US, the UK’s most valuable visitor market, grew by 9% compared to the same period last year, visits from Europe were up by 10% and those from the UAE grew by 15% to 77,000, Meanwhile visits from China, the world’s largest outbound market, were on par with last year’s record first quarter, putting the market on track for another good year. London received a record 3.8 million visits from overseas travellers in the first three months this year, an increase of seven per cent, when compared to the same period in 2015.
Spending by international travellers during this period, which included cultural highlights like Lumiere London, a unique light festival which lit up the West End and Kings Cross, was over £2.2billion, an increase of four per cent compared to the same period last year.
GBTS Reveal Upward Trend
The latest Great Britain Tourism Survey figures show both trips and spend up by 7% over 2014, reversing a three year decline in domestic visits and a two year decline in domestic tourism expenditure. Seasides and rural destinations are seeing the largest increases in trips and expenditure with Bed and Breakfast suppliers and Camping/Caravanning, the fastest growing accommodation sectors. The West Midlands in the fastest growth region with a 32% increase!
GTOA to become AGTO
The Group Travel Organisers Association (GTOA), celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2016, has a new name and logo. Unveiled at the GTOA AGM in Northampton, the new look includes a name change for the organisation to the Association of Group Travel Organisers (AGTO).
Following the announcement of the government’s decision to build a new runway at Heathrow various travel industry groups including Ukinbound have broadly supported the decision. However, interested parties such as bmi regional, urge that the government ensures that regional connectivity remains a priority and that the potential capacity of regional gateways is not overlooked.
A new report from the Heritage Lottery Fund, The Impact of Heritage Tourism for the UK economy 2016, shows that overseas visitors to the UK’s cultural, historic and natural heritage attractions spend more than double per visit compared to their domestic overnight counterparts. In 2015, overseas visitor spend on heritage trips totalled £7.4 billion and reveals an 18% increase in international visits since 2013.
International #CallBrussels Campaign to Reassure Tourists
Visit Brussels has announced plans for a quirky campaign to reassure tourists following the ‘lockdown’ and terror scares at the end of last year. Aimed at its major markets, including the UK, the campaign will see telephone boxes positioned in three landmarks – the Mont des Arts, the Place Flagey and the Place Communale in Molenbeek. Foreign tourists can call the telephone boxes, via a special website – www.call.brussels – and passers-by will be able to answer their questions. Webcams will film the surroundings and the interactions will be broadcast live on the website.
IPS November Figures
The Office for National Statistics’ International Passenger Survey (IPS) figures for November show how that visitor numbers are up 4% but that spend by overseas visitors is static at 0% (this is due to the strengthening of the pound against the Euro in 2015) so the year will end with a record number of overseas visitors if not necessarily a record in visitor expenditure. Visits from North America are up 7% – after years of decline in the UK’s biggest single market. Outbound trips and spend are up 8% and 8% respectively – unusually, both outbound and domestic tourism are increasing at about the same rate at the same time.
Record Breaking 2015 continues into 2016
Last year was a record year for inbound visits to Britain reports The Office for National Statistics (ONS) with 36.1 million visits, 5% up on 2014. Inbound tourism is worth more than £26 billion a year to the UK economy, it says. American visitors spent £3 billion and visits from China increased by 46% with spend up by 18%. Flight booking data also shows bookings for the upcoming period October to December are up by 24% over last year. Domestic visitors also spent more in England in 2015, with £19.6 billion spent by Brits taking overnight trips, up 8% on 2014.
The ONS figures for 2016 so far also reveal that it was a record-breaking August with 3.8 million visits, up 2% on the same month last year, spend was also up by 4% to £2.6 billion. The figures for the first eight months of the year show that a record number of visits from EU countries was achieved with 16.8 million visits, up 3%. Domestic tourism figures are strong with August seeing the highest number of day trips taken in any month since 2012, the 151 million day trips is an increase of 14% over August 2015. The North East of England saw the largest increase – up 34% for the period January to August – followed by 30% increase in the West Midlands.