An improvement in the welcome extended to overseas visitors is expected to be further enhanced by the experience of the London 2012 Olympics, according to new research from VisitBritain.
In a survey conducted by the Civil Aviation Authority among nearly 9,000 departing visitors over a three-year period, VisitBritain sponsored a question which showed a steady improvement both in how welcome visitors felt and in how likely they were to recommend Britain to others.
Overall, in 2011 over one in four visitors felt "extremely welcome" in Britain and 80% said they felt "very welcome".
It is hoped that the positive impact of the Olympics will boost this perception even further.
Patricia Yates, director of strategy and communications at VisitBritain, said: "The London 2012 Games were a great advertisement for Britain - with the volunteers and the warmth of the welcome being picked up around the world.
"We want to make sure that we continue to be seen as a welcoming destination for our visitors so that they continue to want to come back and recommend us to their friends and family."
Tourist attractions (22%) and restaurants (21%) were most likely to be the first venues mentioned as being the most welcoming. Pubs and bars were also popular locations, with 13% mentioning that they felt welcome there. Shops and accommodation were also highlighted by around a third of respondents (32% and 31% respectively), although they were more likely to be mentioned in second or third place after restaurants and tourist attractions.
The markets where English is the first language (the USA, Australia and Canada) were among those feeling most welcome, with almost 40% of Americans reporting to have felt "extremely welcome" during their visit. The findings also revealed that over 40% of those questioned would be "extremely likely" to recommend visiting Britain for a holiday to their friends and family, up 5% from 2010.
By Janet Harmer
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