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UK hospitality set for a bumper year

27 April 2017 by
UK hospitality set for a bumper year

UK hospitality is set for a bumper year, with an expected rise in staycations and increasing interest in the UK as a holiday destination.

That's according to Barclays' Destination UK: Driving Growth in the UK Hospitality and Leisure Sector report, which suggests a substantial increase in both home and international visitors planning holidays in the UK.

The research finds that 63% of international tourists are more interested in UK holidays compared to last year, according to nearly 10,000 respondents from continental Europe, the US, Middle East, Asia and Australia.

Factors driving this interest include TV shows featuring the UK (22%), particularly among Chinese (44%) and US (26%) guests, as well as advertising campaigns (29%) and the weaker pound (31%). Greater spending power (30%) was also cited as a key reason.

And 30% of Brits are expecting to spend more of their holiday in the UK this year, with 39% believing that domestic holidays represent better value for money.

Half of UK respondents choosing a UK break described the familiarity of food, language and travel as making the UK ‘hassle free', with 31% now more aware of UK holiday options.

The average British budget for UK breaks is £800, but 22% of holidaymakers plan to spend more than £1,000 on a UK getaway. During their staycations, Brits expect to spend an average of £309 on accommodation, £152 on dining out and £121 on shopping.

Just over half of international holidaymakers (51%) report that the vote to leave the EU has had no impact on their likelihood to visit the UK, and 31% are more likely to visit the UK than before the referendum.

However, 24% of those who said they would be less likely to visit the UK post-Brexit cited worries about onward travel to other European destinations. This was especially important for Australians (44%), who are potentially looking to combine a visit with multiple European destinations, owing to the longer travel distance.

London (67%) and Scotland (44%) topped the list of regions that visitors are keenest to visit. Interest in Oxford and Cambridge is also notably higher for Chinese guests. Overall, tourists are eager to experience the UK's landmarks (51%), history and museums (44%) and natural landscapes (41%).

The average length of a UK visit is nine days and the average budget per family, including airfares, is £3,443. American and Chinese guests blow even larger budgets, with average spends of £5,230 and £5,424 respectively. Visitors from China and the US also have significantly larger shopping budgets, with an average of £800 and £713 to spend in British shops respectively, compared to the overall budget of £453 set aside by international visitors on average.

Mike Saul, head of hospitality and leisure at Barclays, said: "2017 looks set to be a strong year for the British hospitality sector with both domestic and international visitors increasingly intent on spending more time here.

"Those holidaymakers who are more likely to visit today than 12 months ago are doing so for a range of reasons, including the effect of UK operators' advertising campaigns, the attraction of British TV programmes that have gone global and a case of simply having more money available to spend on holidays from which the UK is set to benefit."

Bumper start to 2017 for overseas visitor numbers to Britain >>

BHA travel monitor reveals strong growth in visitor numbers >>

UK visitor numbers up but spend down, says BHA >>

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