The weak pound is attracting an increasing number of leisure visitors to the UK, but the positive figures are expected to be eclipsed by the effects of the recession, according to VisitBritain.
Holiday visits to the UK are up 4% since the start of 2009 as a result of a favourable exchange rate for foreign travellers.
However, in its 2008/2009 performance review VisitBritain estimates that the number of trips to Britain could fall by as much as 5% in the current calendar year.
Corporate and business travel is worst affected by the downturn and it is likely to remain particularly vulnerable. The review found that business travel made up a quarter of all visits to Britain in 2008, which represented 23% of visitors’ spend.
Other challenges faced by the British tourism industry include rising oil prices and the as yet unknown impact of H1N1 swine flu.
VisitBritain has outlined its four-point strategy to support tourism in the review:
Christopher Rodrigues, chairman of VisitBritain, described how the organisation plans to support the £114b industry: “VisitBritain will liaise closely with the Government, to ensure that the tourism industry’s voice is at the forefront of their thinking.
“We will cultivate cross-governmental working and support and champion the true value and importance of the British tourism industry.”
By Janie Stamford
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