Britain is set to welcome a record number of international tourists in 2020, a new forecast shows.
VisitBritain, the national tourism agency, is predicting that the number of overseas visitors to the UK next year will rise to 39.7million – up 2.9 per cent on 2019.
It also estimated that spending by these visitors will hit a record £26.6billion next year – a 6.6 per cent increase in spending in 2019, which is expected to top out at £25billion.
Meanwhile, data from ForwardKeys, a flight data analysis firm, shows that flight bookings overall to the UK from December 2019 to May 2020 are up five per cent compared to the same period last year.
Forward bookings to the UK from China and South Asia are particularly strong, up 33 per cent and 22 per cent respectively.
The figures come as VisitBritain is implementing its ‘Find Your Great Britain’ campaign, which is ‘tells the story of people and places and encouraging visitors to travel further, stay longer and to book a trip right now’.
It is also working with the tourism industry to inform European visitors about the practicalities of travel and to encourage visits post-Brexit.
VisitBritain director, Patricia Yates, said: ‘Tourism is one of the UK’s most valuable export industries and these results show our continued ability to attract international visitors in a fiercely competitive global market.
We are seeing success in growing tourism from our long-haul, high-spending markets including the US, our largest and most valuable inbound market, and from markets that are crucial for our future such as China.
‘Working with partners globally we are telling customers about experiences they can only have here, converting the inspiration to visit into bookings and driving growth from tourism across the nations and regions, boosting local economies.’
Tourism is worth £127 billion to the UK economy with VisitBritain saying it ‘boosts economic growth across its nations and regions’.
It also adds that the industry is a job creator as for every 22 inbound visits from China for example, one job is created in Britain’s tourism industry.