Britain’s tourism industry is expected to more than double from £127b in 2013 to £257b by 2025, according to a new report commissioned by VisitBritain. The Tourism: jobs and growth report suggests that the UK’s tourism industry could make up 10% of UK GDP by 2025, up from 9% this year, with this growth creating 175,000 new jobs.
Interestingly, the report also hypothesises what might happen if the UK were to become as successful as its European competitors in attracting visitors from emerging markets such as China, India, and Russia. With further investment to attract these visitors, it is estimated that the value of inbound tourism could rise by an additional £12b by 2025 – over 20% on the base forecast.
While the UK accounts for less than 1% of all outbound travellers from China and Russia, and around 3% of travellers from Brazil and India, visitors from the BRIC nations are already among the highest spenders on hotel rooms. The latest Hotels.com Hotel Price Index, shows that visitors from Brazil paid £141 a night on average during the first six months of 2013, while visitors from China paid £134 a night. Russian visitors paid £125 when booking rooms at Hotels.com, while travellers from India paid slightly less with a nightly average of £124.
Alison Couper at Hotels.com says: “These predictions show the sheer potential of the UK’s tourism industry. Already a crucial part of the economy, there is an enormous opportunity to develop this sector through investment to attract visitors from emerging tourism markets. While hoteliers are responding to this trend and making changes to offer these visitors a warmer welcome – such as translated tourist information and a wider selection of food, drinks and TV channels – more must be done if the UK is to compete with other European destinations.
“The Chancellor’s recent announcement that the visa application process for Chinese visitors is to be simplified is a step in the right direction, but a timeline for this has yet to be confirmed and meanwhile the UK economy is losing out.”