International tourists visiting Britain are estimated to spend at least £40m annually in British pubs.
That's the claim from national tourism agency VisitBritain, which conducted research into overseas visitors' pub-going habits.
The agency's research showed that if the 13.8m overseas visitors (45% of the inbound market share) who visited a pub in 2011 were to buy just one pint, then those international guests would contribute at least £40m annually to the till behind the bar.
The figures also suggested the average amount spent by those whose itinerary included a pub visit is rather more than those who did not (£676 compared to £502).
Meanwhile, it emerged that 50% of tourists who visited Britain on a holiday drank at a pub during their stay, 54% who were here to see friends and relatives enjoyed a pint or two and top, were international students, with 55% of them frequenting their local watering hole.
In fact, pubs create such overseas interest that even 9% of visitors who don’t stay a night in the UK make sure they stop off in a pub to have a drink, catch up with old friends or grab a bite to eat, according to the research.
Other findings included the news that Australians and New Zealanders were most likely to visit a pub, with six-in-ten residents of Canada and the US who are over here also seeking out a watering hole. Towards the other end of the scale were visitors from the Far East - only one fifth of tourists from countries including China and Japan tend to visit pubs.
From Europe it is Swedish (66%), Icelandic (63%) and Irish (62%) holidaymakers who tend to search for the best pubs during their stay. But the Belgians and French were less likely to visit, with only 50% claiming to visit a pub during their stay.
In a separate VisitBritain study, pubs were found to be strong on welcoming guests, with 39% of departing tourists saying that pubs and bars were one of the places they were made to feel most welcome during their stay. That was beaten only by restaurants which scored 42%.
Out of the 39% who reported to have felt welcome in a pub during their trip, 90% were ‘extremely’ or ‘very likely’ to recommend Britain for a holiday or short-break.
Patricia Yates, director of strategy and communications at VisitBritain said: “The GREAT British pub is our welcome mat to the world. Visitors can chat with locals, get a flavour for the area and discover all the hidden treasures which aren’t necessarily found on a planned itinerary. That’s not to mention the wonderful array of local food, beer and wine that they can try while here.
“Our pubs play a huge role in enhancing the overall visitor experience and will go a long way in helping us improve global perceptions of the British welcome."
By Neil Gerrard
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