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TOURISM 2015 forecast to be record year

The UK tourism sector is pre- dicted to continue its strong course of growth in 2015, with records expected to once again tumble for both inbound visitors and spend. VisitBritain predicts that inbound


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tourism spend will rise by 4.5 per cent in 2015, with visitors from overseas expected to spend £22.2bn – an increase of almost £1bn on the estimated return for 2014. “Tourism will continue to be one

of the country’s major export earners with VisitBritain playing a critical role in its success,” said VisitBritain CEO Sally Balcombe. “One of our priorities for 2015 will be to inspire interna- tional visits to the nations and regions, plus showcase Britain’s magnificent countryside.” The body pointed to its long-running

GREAT campaign – which has focused on promoting Britain to world markets – as one of the key drivers of the tourism boom. “Our GREAT campaign continues to

produce results and generated at least £1.8bn from inbound visitors in its first three years, creating economic value and jobs across Britain’s tourism businesses,” added Balcombe. Other aspects said to be making a signifi- cant impact to the tourism industry’s fortunes

Sally Balcombe took charge of VisitBritain in September 2015

include a simplified visa system and high spending from key growth markets like China. Business from Chinese tourists has been

particularly strong in the last four years. Tey spent £492m in 2013, up from £184m in 2010. Over that period the number of visits from Chinese people rose by 79.1 per cent to 196,000. Despite this, industry observers, such as the Tourism Alliance’s Kurt Janson, point out that the UK’s share of outbound travel from China has been falling since 2007 and believe that more needs to be done to streamline visa services. Details:

Regional tourism push: could it backfire?

Convincing international tourists to visit more UK cities than just London could backfire if money is siphoned out of existing domestic tourism budgets, experts have warned. National trade association, British

Destinations, has told the Commons select committee on tourism that the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) must not waste money by pitching to an interna- tional market that is not there. “London is ingrained and rein-

forced almost everywhere,” British Destinations told committee MPs. “Bond never visits M in Norwich, inter- national fashion houses don’t proclaim themselves to be of Birmingham, New York and Paris, nor do nervous international busi- nessmen flick to the business pages to check how the Sheffield stock exchange is doing.” Te group explained that for many global

visitors, London-Paris-Berlin is currently a far more likely tour itinerary or holiday wish list than London and a combination of British towns and cities. It added that efforts aimed

Read Leisure Opportunities online: Yorkshire drew tourists in 2014 by staging the Tour de France

at moving foreign visitors around must be backed by new public funding and not at the expense of support to domestic tourism. Organisations speaking at the first evidence

session of the tourism inquiry, which is looking at how the industry is supported, said that since 2010, more than £100m has been taken out of support for the tourist industry, including £65m earmarked for regional devel- opment, making it even harder to get tourists out of London. Details:

Twitter: @leisureopps © CYBERTREK 2015

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