Royal wedding boosts UK tourism

1st May 2011

A million people descended on the streets of London for the royal wedding, which has resulted in a surge of visitors to the UK and an increase in consumer spending.

Travellers from across the globe arrived in London to watch and be a part of one of the biggest events in history, with visitors from Europe, to Australia and Asia. Londoners and tourists camped outside Westminster Abbey for two days, hoping to get glimpse of Kate and William and the royal family.

Amongst the 2,000 guests and representatives invited to watch the proceedings were; Julia Gillard, the Prime Minister of Australia, the Prime Ministers of New Zealand, Papau New Guinea, the Bahamas, St Lucia, and St Vincent. Meanwhile Bahrain’s crown prince declined an invitation to attend the wedding, saying he did not want the Gulf nation’s unrest to tarnish the celebrations.

Royal wedding parties took place all across the country, for those Brits who were unable to get to London, but didn’t want to miss out on the celebrations.

Research conducted by Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) revealed that around 560,000 people intended to travel into London from around the UK especially for the Royal Wedding. While 37 per cent of visitors intended to only stay for the day, hotels in the capital have still benefited largely, with 185,000 people who stayed in London hotels. A further 50,000 planned to stay the night in a B&B.


While the majority of people opted for a budget hotel stay, one in five chose to spend between £100 and £149 on a room for the night. However a further 20,000 people celebrated the wedding in style and spent upwards of £300 a night. Travellers made the most of their weekend, visiting bars, clubs and restaurants during their stay.

Mark Ambler, economist at PwC, said: “Our survey suggests that the wedding will be a great economic boost for London’s economy and a good indicator of the potential economic benefits of the Olympic Games, when more than ten times this number of visitors is expected.”

Ryanair carried 150,000 passengers through its three London airports from Wednesday 27th – Friday 29th, 10% up on last year, as tourists and ex-pats flocked to London to celebrate the wedding.

Ryanair’s Stephen McNamara explained: “William and Kate are now officially London’s most important tourist assets and Ryanair’s London bookings are up 10% as passengers flock to London to help celebrate their wedding.”

Meanwhile Norfolk Tourism have predicted an influx of visitors for the next two years, thanks to the royal wedding and the return of the Tour of Britain race. Plans are already in place to accommodate sports fans who will use Norfolk’s direct rail link to Stratford station for London 2012.

International visitors to London spent close to £9bn in the capital last year, with tourist numbers at a four-year high compared to the gloomier picture in the rest of the country.

The latest figures from the International Passenger Survey (IPS) reveal that the number of people visiting London in 2010 grew for the first time since 2006, up 3 per cent on the previous year.

In contrast, the rest of the UK saw visitor numbers decrease by 4 per cent last year.

With the excitement of the royal wedding now beginning to subside, London is now gearing up for the London Olympics 2012 that is set to draw even more travellers to the UK. Applications have been made for 20 million tickets across a host of extraordinary events, ranging from beach volleyball to gymnastics and athletics.

Sport Tourism is travel industry’s fastest growing sector, and contributed an astonishing 14 percent of overall travel and tourism receipts in 2010, according to WSDE Sport Tourism Expo, the only global exhibition and business forum dedicated to showcasing the full spectrum of Sport Tourism related products and services.

At a time when some traditional tourism trends are in decline, Sport Tourism continues to flourish and is set to grow exponentially in the next decade.

Yet the complex mechanics of Sport Tourism have not yet been fully understood or realised.  The annual WSDE Sport Tourism Expo aims to present the future business deals and source new contacts and markets, but also to gain invaluable insights from the advanced knowledge of market leaders.

Now in its second year, WDSE Sport Tourism Expo will take place in Bangkok, Thailand - Asia’s Sport Tourism Gateway - from 27-29 September 2011.


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