VisitBritain/VisitEngland reports year of tourism growth

A report has shown that visitors spent more than £1bn in Britain last year as a result of activity by national tourism agency VisitBritain/VisitEngland.

This means that for every pound invested in the agency, visitors spent £25 in Britain. As well as the UK Government investment, the agency had attracted £13m of investment in cash and in-kind from commercial partners and delivered £2m profit from its online shop – money which is reinvested into its activities to grow the value of tourism.

The results, announce at the agency’s annual review, come on the back of a strong 2017 for inbound tourism. VisitBritain forecasts that it will beat its ambition of 40 million inbound visits by 2020 this year. Brits have also been taking more holidays at home with visits and spend up by 6% in 2017.

Sunderland's latest statistics received by the City Council through the STEAM (Scarborough Economic Activity Model) reveals that, for 2017:

• 8.76 million people visited Sunderland. This was up by 6% on 2016.
• Visitor expenditure in Sunderland now stands at £429million, up by 5% on 2016.
• 5,309 jobs are supported by tourism in Sunderland, an increase of 5% on 2016.

Leader of Sunderland City Council, Councillor Graeme Miller said:
“I am delighted to see the continued growth in tourism figures for Sunderland in 2017.  It is also encouraging that as the number of people visiting our city continues to increase the economic impact of their visits also continue to rise.  This all helps to confirm that tourism is a growing sector and a crucial part of our economy.

These figures demonstrate how our wide variety of visitor attractions, including our fantastic seafront and award-winning parks, historic buildings, museums, theatres and world class events can bring positive cultural and economic change to our region.

UK Minister for Tourism Michael Ellis said: “Britain’s tourism industry is booming. Last year was a very strong year for domestic and inbound tourism, with tens of billions of pounds going into our economy. The government, alongside VisitBritain/VisitEngland, is working with the sector to build on this success with an emphasis on attracting major business events and investing in local tourism projects through the Discover England Fund.”

British Tourist Authority chairman Steve Ridgway CBE, former chief executive of Virgin Atlantic Airways, said tourism in the UK was one of our growth industries, growing at a rate faster than the digital industries and continuing to attract overseas investment.

Mr Ridgway said: “Tourism is the country’s shop window to the world. A £127bn powerhouse which continues to deliver for the British economy, creating jobs and driving economic growth right across the country. Our third largest service export, tourism needs no trade deals to prosper. Britain is already competing strongly in our most valuable visitor source markets such as the US and in markets that are crucial for our future including China.”

Mr Ridgway said the Discover England Fund, launched by the UK Government to develop world-class bookable tourism products across England to attract the visitors of the future, had launched 22 new schemes during the year with 12 in excess of £1m.

The agency had also seen success in securing more international business events for the UK, growing this valuable economic sector and driving more business throughout the year and across the country. Just last week VisitBritain brought Chinese business events buyers here to do business, demonstrating to the world’s most valuable outbound market why the UK should be their destination of choice.

As the agency looked ahead to its 50th anniversary in 2019 Mr Ridgway said the priority was to continue to work in partnership with industry, Government and destinations to ensure tourism’s future resilience, growth and economic delivery across the UK.