3/1/ 06 Britain tourism deficit soars despite record visitors

Visit Britain has published a 25-year review of inbound tourism, revealing for the first time the trends that see the sector moving from a surplus to a £17bn deficit even though visitor numbers have more than doubled over the period. The Foresight Review shows that while the numbers of inbound tourists has grown by 122% to more than 27m between 1979 and 2004, spending has only risen by 40% in real terms, as visitors to the country spend significantly less time here and are increasingly likely to be visiting friends or relatives than coming on holiday. In 1979, the average visitor to Britain came for 12.5 nights. By 2004 this had shrunk to just over eight nights. At the same time the ‘spend per head’ in real terms for each stay had fallen from more than £740 to £470 (2004 prices). In 1979 Britain recorded a surplus of more than £2bn as the amount spent by visitors coming to the country exceeded the sum spent by Britons abroad. By 2004 that had been transformed to a deficit of more than £17bn. Last year UK residents spent £2.32 overseas for every £1 that was spent in Britain by overseas visitors. There is some good news for the British visitor economy however. Britain is still recording faster growth in visitor numbers than many of its traditional competitors, and the pattern of inbound tourism is far less seasonal than it was in 1979. Visit Britain chief executive Tom Wright said: “These figures graphically demonstrate the success of Britain’s visitor economy but also the challenges we face. “Britain really must do everything it can to stimulate and encourage its visitor economy. We need first class attractions, destinations and hospitality, and a compelling Britain brand to prosper in an increasingly competitive global market. We cannot ignore the fact that spending by inbound tourists to Britain has not risen in any significant way in the past quarter of a century, and everyone in the public and private sector needs to address that.”

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles
and free email bulletins.

Register now
Already registered?
Sign in
BCD Meetings & Events appoints new country director in China

BCD Meetings & Events appoints new country director in China

New Shanghai-based country director joins BCD M&E after recent roles with Uniplan and Pico.

How do you win a C&IT Award?

How do you win a C&IT Award?

Award winner-turned-judge explains what the panel was looking for in this year's entries and how accolades affect agency life.

4 things event tech fans should be excited about

4 things event tech fans should be excited about

The good folk of Clive show us some of the latest developments that have caught their attention.

TAG opens new office in Hong Kong

TAG opens new office in Hong Kong

The travel and event management company expands its reach in Asia and now has ten offices worldwide.

Gray Dawes Group acquires Amber Road Travel

Gray Dawes Group acquires Amber Road Travel

Travel management specialist boosts its presence in the north of England and will exceed £200m turnover.

'Clients have to understand our turnaround times'

'Clients have to understand our turnaround times'

Laura Law, conference director at Venues & Events International, argues that agencies need sufficient time to get under a brief's skin.

28% of event professionals have taken time off for mental health issues, finds survey

28% of event professionals have taken time off for mental health issues, finds survey

Research by Stress Matters discovers that many are still experiencing anxiety and a blame culture at work, despite more wellbeing initiatives.

Why we must 'reshape the conversation' around gender equality

Why we must 'reshape the conversation' around gender equality

Event professionals at IMEX America discussed mentoring and how to get everyone involved in debates about equality at work.

Ruby Hotels' first UK property to open in Southbank in 2020

Ruby Hotels' first UK property to open in Southbank in 2020

The carnival-themed Ruby Lucy will bring 'lean luxury' to London in January and have a Marshall guitar amp in every room.

Five ways ICC Belfast and the wider city is mastering sustainability.

LATEST JOBS