UK tourism expected to hold up despite Brexit, terror concerns

Hopes of tourism sector resilience

While uncertainty around Brexit and the impact of terrorism is expected to put pressure on London’s tourism sector in 2017, WTTC data suggests that the city is well placed to withstand these challenges.

Encouraging signs are also coming from Tourico, a travel booking company with contracts with nearly 2,000 UK hotels, which reported a 29 per cent increase year-on-year increase in UK hotel bookings in 2017.

Hopes for tourism sector resilience

The growth in UK bookings can in part be attributed to UK’s most consistent source markets, Tourico stated. Based on the company’s latest hotel booking report, the US increased its year-over-year bookings to the UK by 11 per cent, and Canada 35 per cent. South America increased its bookings by 38 per cent in 2017 and the Middle East by 22 per cent.

Asia-Pacific travellers continue to seek out UK travel products as well, increasing bookings by 31 per cent overall – with China up 69 per cent and Australia up 28 per cent.

Moreover, as the pound remains relatively weak, Europeans, in particular, are flooding to the UK, with an increase of 52 per cent. Specifically, Scandinavia has increased its hotel demand by 17 per cent, while Spain jumped 49 per cent. Tourico’s data also revealed that domestic hotel bookings or “staycations” within the UK have risen by 21 per cent year-over-year.

Offering further signs of healthy tourism performance, WTTC stated that London generates more spend from international visitors than any other city in Europe.

A new report launched by WTTC shows that international visitors in 2016 spent around £11.2billion (US$14.7 billion) in London, and domestic UK visitors contribute a further £1.74 billion. In terms of travel & tourism GDP contribution, London accounts for nearly 19 per cent of the UK’s total, according to WTTC.

The tourism body’s president and CEO Gloira Guevara expects international tourism spend to increase by seven per cent every year over the next 10 years.

Optimistic that London will show resilience in the face of Brexit uncertainty and terror concerns, she said: “London is a truly international city and the London is Open campaign has given a very strong message of welcome to tourists from abroad, which, with a great offering and unique experiences for tourists, means the UK’s capital has gained the top spot when it comes to international tourism to cities in Europe.”

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