Tourism experts forecast growth

02 March 2005 by
Tourism experts forecast growth

Industry experts revealed their predictions for the year ahead at the Tourism Society's annual forum in London last week.

Michael Hirst, chairman of the Business Tourism Partnership, forecast steady growth of up to £1b (3-5%), building on similar growth from 2004.

He expected the busy political calendar, which includes the Olympic Committee visit, a conference on the Middle East, the G8 Summit at Gleneagles, presidency of the EU and a General Election, to bring substantial conference and meetings business to London and Scotland.

But Stephen Dowd, chief executive of UKInbound, raised concerns over the growth of "no frills" travel, which he said had resulted in a 7.9% reduction in visitor spend over the past four years.

Individual spend, said Dowd, had declined from £508 in 2000 to £468 in 2004, which meant the industry had to attract more visitors to generate the same amount of cash.

While he expected economic conditions to stay the same, he argued that the UK's high business costs and taxes were placing a strain on the industry.

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