ONS report shows brighter outlook for British tourism – but don’t get complacent, says travel expert
With latest Office of National Statistics figures showing a slight stabilisation of the British tourism economy, travel and accommodation providers from across the UK may be tempted to breathe a sigh of relief.
But now isn’t the time to get complacent, according to a British travel expert.
Marcus Simmons, managing director of iknow-uk, the UK’s leading independent tourism and accommodation directory, is warning business-owners not to rest on their laurels as the industry starts its slow recovery.
“It’s great news that the latest figures are showing a slight recovery in the British tourism industry,” he said.
“But we need to make sure that hoteliers and other businesses in the sector continue to step up and do everything they can to shout about the great holiday offering the UK has.
“With big events such as the Royal Wedding and the Olympics on the horizon, and good news about the visitor economy starting to stabilise, there are real opportunities for the industry to really step up and help ensure Britain is at the top of the list when it comes to amazing must-visit tourism destinations.
“It’s vital in the run up to these events that the UK goes all out to ensure we are effectively communicating our value as a tourist destination - with both holidaymakers from abroad and at home.
“However, we also need to be careful not to be blinded by William and Kate’s wedding or the Olympics as the only opportunities to draw visitors in to the UK.
“It’s important that we have a sustained approach. The thousands of hotel and accommodation owners that list on our websites won’t have problems filling their rooms during the Games. It’s before and after 2012 they are concerned about.”
Marcus specifically warned against raising room prices to reap as great a return as possible on the one-off events such as the Olympics.
He said: “We definitely need a more long-term view on how this may impact business in years to come. We want to make the most of short-term opportunities, but not if it gives visitors the impression that Britain is an expensive destination.
“Britain has such a lot to offer visitors, with stunning coastline and amazing countryside, and we need to step up and put in place a sustainable, long-term plan of how we communicate this to both home-grown and overseas tourists.”
The latest ONS figures show that the number of Brits choosing to holiday in their own country has risen by six per cent in the past year, with the number heading abroad down by three per cent.
iknow-uk’s websites cover Britain’s most popular tourist regions and are visited by more than a million users each month.
Hospitality or accommodation providers looking to list their business on one of iknow’s websites should visit www.iknow-uk.com or call 0800 064 3333.