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Overseas tourists to Britain feel more welcome than five years ago

09 December 2015 by
Overseas tourists to Britain feel more welcome than five years ago

The percentage of international visitors who said they felt extremely welcome in Britain has more than doubled in the last five years, according to a new report.

The survey carried out by national tourism agency VisitBritain, based on interviews with 5,000 visitors as they left Britain, found that 42% said they felt extremely welcome, compared with 30% and 19% in 2012 and 2009 respectively.

Of the visitors who felt extremely or very welcome, 93% said they would also be extremely or very likely to recommend Britain to family and friends. Danes, Canadians, Swedes, Indians and Americans felt the most welcome. VisitBritain's report noted that personal recommendations are the most important factor when it comes to choosing a holiday destination.

VisitBritain director Patricia Yates said: "We know that being considered friendly and welcoming can really make a difference to people's travel decisions and whether they would recommend a destination. In an era where social media recommendations from friends are so important, it is great to see these historically weaker areas continuing to improve."

The government's Five Point Plan for tourism was announced in July this year to boost visitor numbers and spread the economic benefits of tourism across Britain. One example includes a pilot scheme to reimburse the visa fee to Chinese visitors who book on to tours of at least eight days, at least four of which are spent outside London.

Tracey Crouch, minister for sport, tourism and heritage, said: "UK tourism is a global success story and more tourists leaving with positive memories of their stay can only help spread the word that the UK is the place to visit."

The first nine months of 2015 have broken previous records for inbound tourism numbers, with more than 27 million visits to Britain, a 3% increase on the same period last year.

Tourism is Britain's seventh largest export industry and third largest service sector. Inbound tourism was worth more than £26b to the economy in 2013.

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