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09 Oct 2018

Booming year for British tourism as Brexit approaches

Tourism body VisitBritain says its generated more than £1bn for Britain last – equivalent to £25 for every £1 invested in the agency by the Government and its commercial partners.

2017 saw a record 39.2 million inbound tourism visits to the UK, up 4 per cent on the previous year, and VisitBritain expects to surpass its 2020 target of 40 million inbound visits this year. Overseas visitors are forecast to spend £26.3bn in 2018.

The figures have been presented within VisitBritain’s latest annual review, which showcases its work during the 2017-2018 financial year. The review also shows that Brits are taking more holidays at home, with visits and spend up by 6 per cent.

Among the agency’s projects is the Discover England Fund, which looks to develop world-class bookable tourism products across England. Twenty-two new Discover England schemes were launched throughout the year. Success has also been found in attracting more international business events to the UK - considered especially important in light of the UK’s imminent departure from the European Union.

Steve Ridgway CBE, chairman of the British Tourist Authority, said: “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.”

That said, there are challenges ahead, he added: “We want to ensure that the future relationship keeps our borders as frictionless as possible for visitors, our aviation as connected as ever, and our economic stability on track - because tourism depends on this.”

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