Tourism and visitor numbers boosting UK economy

Tourism and visitor numbers boosting UK economy image

The weakness in the UK pound is bolstering tourism figures a report by the Office of National Statistics has found. Tourism figures rose to 3.5 million in June which is up 7% on the same time last year.

Amid the total figure over 35% were from North America. Overall visitor spending is up by 2% to a total of £2.2 billion.

UK residents leaving the UK for trips abroad were up by 4% in June even though there was a fall in sterling UK residents still increased by 15% to £4.6 billion.

Since Brexit, the pound has become weaker and therefore more attractive to Europeans, Americans and Chinese travellers wishing to visit Britain. There has never been a better time for them with exchange rates being attractive. Howard Archer, Chief Economic Adviser to the EY Item Club, said that the rise of visitors from 483,000 in June of last year to 650,000 this year was “clearly buoyed by the sharp drop of the pound against the dollar since mid-2016″.

So far in 2017, April was the best month with a total of 3.7 million tourists hitting our shores, this figure is quite an increase since April 2016 up 19%.

Business visitors were down however by 4% indicating that doing business in Britain was tailing off.

Tourism along with the new trend of ‘staycations’ is one of the most valuable industries in the UK. The continued growth is positive for businesses associated with tourism. Businesses such as hotels, bed and breakfasts, restaurants, cafes, pubs and other businesses linked to tourism are set to see positive times ahead.

So with such active times in tourism, it is a good indication that there has never been a better time to invest in the sector.  This is especially evident when we have seen an increase in business funding applications particularly with our merchant cash advance product.  MLA as a business saw an increase particularly from the hospitality sector mainly with restaurants and hotels looking to grow their business. We’ve seen innovative ideas to capitalise on the growth in footfall, especially around coastal and tourist areas.

Hotel owners, restaurant owners and cafes are especially driving their business forward as demand soars. Patricia Yates of VisitBritain said, “Tourism is one of Britain’s most valuable export industries, and this continued growth demonstrates the industry’s increasing importance as a key driver of economic growth across our nations and regions.”

VisitScotland has carried out research that suggests that the tourism economy is now worth a staggering £11bn to the economy and is estimated to represent almost 5% of the Scottish economy as a whole.

Apparently, a growth sector alongside other industries such as finance, science and energy tourism in Scotland is enjoying positive numbers although another report from the Scottish government’s tourism agency reveals that they are failing to capitalise on the growth and visitor spending fully.

Tourism jobs in Scotland, at the last count, were around 220,000 jobs nearly half of them were in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Highland, Aberdeen and Fife and 1 in 10 tourism jobs were in the Highland areas.

So are businesses fully capitalising across Scotland? It doesn’t seem the case. Over half of companies on the VisitScotland website don’t transact online, and with over 66% of tourism businesses transacting online globally it looks like Scotland may well be missing out.

Online rental firms such as TripAdvisor and Airbnb are making companies strive for perfection which, in turn, keeps standards high and competitive with other countries. Businesses can’t be complacent and have to change with the times which is why we are seeing an increase in businesses looking to grow and improve.

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