The UK’s inbound tourism market has suffered a tough year as the triple whammy of a strong pound, high fuel and the economic downturn, which contributed to the first drop in visitor numbers in many years. International visitor numbers fell by 150,000 to 32.6 million, according the VisitBritain’s 2007/08 annual review. The decine in numbers from the developed world was not offset by growth in numbers from emerging markets.However the national tourist body said that Britain’s market intelligence and global reach has enabled it to sustain a higher level of performance against challenging market conditions.
Domestic tourism in England also experienced a decline in 2007 both in terms of volume and value (net of inflation), despite the credit squeeze put the brakes on Britons travelling abroad. Poor weather during the summer months of 2007 favoured indoor attractions but other sectors, particularly open-air attractions, were hit hard as Britons abandoned plans for domestic travel or travelled overseas to escape the weather.
VisitBritain said it recognises the need to work with its partners in the nations and regions to get the British value message across at home and abroad against the growing challenge of new low-cost destinations.
This autumn VisitEngland will lead in promoting this message with the launch of a tactical £1.5 million marketing campaign promoting offers on short breaks
and experiences in England. While in the key growth market of India, VisitBritain will work in partnership with British Airways on a £500,000 campaign to promote Britain’s modern and dynamic brand values with a fare offer starting at £126 return.
“The visitor economy in Britain continues to deliver great product and great service and our best tourism businesses win accolades and prizes around the world. “We want to continue to flourish as a world-class destination and are working with industry leaders to address the challenges of our visa process and improve our welcome at ports of entry,” advised Christopher Rodrigues, Chairman of VisitBritain.