According to the latest report from the UK’s ONS (Office of National Statistics) vacations to the UK are on the rise with visits from international travelers up by 22% in April this year compared to the same time in 2016, so why are more of us heading to Britain?
The research shows that the number of overseas residents visiting the UK grew every month this year with 10.8 million visits to the county during the period April to June 2017, which was 8% more than the same time last year.
Since London hosted the Olympic Games in 2012, UK tourism is booming with visitors arriving in London last year breaking through the 19 million barrier for the very first time.
However, according to a report from VisitBritain, much of this increase is down to the weaker pound which is making the UK a more-affordable destination for foreign visitors. The organization also tracks flights bookings and recently found they were up 19% overall. However, bookings made by Chinese visitors were up a whopping 49%.
So, it would appear that the London Olympics and the impending Brexit which is having a negative impact on the strength of the pound, is actually having a positive effect on tourism
Domestic vacations boost
Domestic vacations are also on the rise with one report suggesting almost two million extra Brits enjoyed a domestic break over the August bank holiday weekend which gave a welcome boost to the UK economy with an estimated £1.7 billion injection.
According to the same report from VisitEngland, Britons took a record 14.4 million domestic vacations between January and April 2017, up 3% on the same period last year.
This would all suggest that the UK really is growing in popularity amongst both international and UK travelers.
Several airlines have also announced new domestic routes across the UK which is also no doubt having a possible impact. Flybe, a regional airline which operates more UK domestic flights than any other airline continues to grow and recently launched its very first flights from London Heathrow. The airline is now operating 40 scheduled flights a week from Heathrow to Edinburgh and Aberdeen which is not only great news for business travelers, but these extra flights give also give holidaymakers in the UK even greater choice.
Summer in the sun
Whilst UK tourism is experiencing a welcome boost, the reality is of course that many millions more enjoyed their holidays on foreign shores with Spain once again, by far the most popular destination amongst sun-seeking Brits.
It comes and no surprise to most that other destinations proving popular with British travelers this year include Greece, Portugal and France with Croatia and Bulgaria both experiencing strong growth.
However, it would appear that Turkey is bouncing back with UK travel trade magazine, Travel Weekly recently reporting a significant boost in sales during the ‘lates’ market.
Further evidence of a return came from low cost airline Jet2.com and its vacations brand, Jet2holidays recently announcing it will almost double its Turkey offering next year due to customer demand whilst back in July, Thomas Cook reported “significant growth” with summer bookings up 11%.
A look ahead
2018 is set to be a very another very interesting year for the UK travel industry with Turkey expected make a major comeback and with the FCO recently lifting its travel restriction, it does look like British travelers will be heading back to Tunisia. Indeed, Thomas Cook has announced that flights and holidays from Feb next year are already on sale.
Travel companies will be working hard to ensure there is enough capacity across Europe and more importantly they are able to meet demand from British holidaymakers for holidays in destinations such as Turkey and Tunisia.
Both tour operators and OTAs need the ability to quickly contract with ‘new’ suppliers in Turkey and Tunisia, to effectively fulfil customer demands.
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