Tourists flock to the UK

The
number of tourists visiting the UK from emerging nations such as Brazil,
Russia, India and China is set to rise sharply, a report by VisitBritain says.

It
predicted that by 2014, visitor numbers from China alone would increase by
almost 100,000 – a 90 per cent jump.

This
was partly due to the popularity of Premier League football in China, it added.

However,
the bulk of people visiting the UK will still come from traditional European
and North American markets.

The
report also looked at reasons why tourists chose the UK as a holiday destination.
This included relaxing “well-being” breaks, the opportunity to visit
a range of galleries and museums, and sampling traditional British pubs.

It
said travellers had moved away from wanting a service towards wanting an
“experience”, saying they would choose their holiday on the basis of
how real or authentic it felt.

The
numbers of visitors from emerging nations remains small. Between Brazil,
Russia, India and China there were 650,000 visitors to the UK last year – this
compares with 3.8 million from France alone.

Between
them, France, the Irish Republic, the US, Germany and Spain are expected to
send an extra 3.3 million new visitors by 2014.

However,
tourist chiefs are looking to new markets after 2009 saw 1.2 million fewer
American visitors than in the record year of 2000.

And
in the first seven months of this year, tourist numbers from North America were
down by 6 per cent on the same period a year ago.

The
relative weakness of the dollar against the pound, and the sluggish recovery of
the US economy, are believed to be factors in the falling numbers.

VisitBritain
forecasts the number of visitors from India will grow by 29 per cent by 2014,
with more than 100,000 extra visits. Russian tourist numbers are predicted to
rise by 24 per cent with Brazilian visitors set to increase by 32 per cent.

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