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Forecasts from VisitBritain, the national tourism agency, indicate that 2017 is set to be another record year for inbound tourism to the UK.
Spending by overseas visitors is predicted to reach £24.1 billion in 2017, an 8% increase on spending this year which is expected to top out at £22.3 billion.
The number of overseas visitors to the UK is expected to rise next year to 38.1 million visits, up 4% on 2016 which is likely to see about 36.7 million visits by year end.
The figures are expected to be further boosted following the fall in the value of sterling after the EU referendum.
VisitBritain Chief Executive Sally Balcombe said:
“These figures not only underpin a longer-term pattern of growth for inbound tourism, one of our fastest growing export industries, but also demonstrates its growing importance as a key driver for economic growth and jobs.
“With our hotels, shops and attractions all offering excellent value for overseas visitors right now, it’s a great time to come to Britain. Through our strategic partnerships and global marketing campaigns we are converting aspiration to visit into bookings, ensuring that the economic benefits of tourism are spread across all of Britain’s nations and regions.”
VisitBritain’s campaigns have continued to produce results and generated an extra £800 million across the nations and regions of Britain during the last year. Every £1 the Government invests in VisitBritain for international marketing, has resulted in an overseas visitor spending £23 here in Britain.”
Celebrations, attractions and openings in 2017 include:
• Hull – the UK City of Culture 2017.
• 2017 World Athletics Championships and World Para Athletics Championships in July and August, the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy in June at grounds in Cardiff, London and Birmingham and the 25th anniversary of the Premier League
At the Natural History Museum –after 35 years of the Diplodocus skeleton display the central display in the museum’s Hintze Hall is set to change in the summer of 2017 to a blue whale skeleton, marking the start of a decade of transformation for the museum.
Tourism is Britain’s seventh largest export industry and third largest service sector. The industry is also a major job creator, for example every 22 additional Chinese visitors that come to Britain create an additional job in the sector.