Tourism chiefs predict royal wedding boost

Tourism chiefs across the United Kingdom are predicting huge gains from the marriage of Prince William to Kate Middleton in 2011.

The couple confirmed they would tie-the-knot in the “spring or summer” next year, with a concrete date yet to be set.

With the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics following in 2012, the tourism industry has a tremendous opportunity to attract extra overseas tourists, VisitEngland chief executive James Berresford said.

He said: “I’m absolutely thrilled for William and Kate, and thrilled for tourism as well.

“The wedding next year will mean that once again the eyes of the world will be turned to our nation.

“We will have a wonderful opportunity to showcase all that is best about the country - its heritage and its history and what being English is all about.”

Prince William and bride Katie Middleton yesterday

Last week the Office of National Statistics (ONS) announced the number of visits made to the UK by overseas residents in the first nine months of this year totalled 22.48 million.

The figure represents a two per cent dip on the January-September 2009 total.

Mr Berresford continued: “We now have the boost of the royal wedding next year and then in 2012 there is the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and then the Olympics.

“The wedding announcement today is great news and is a real shot in the arm for tourism.”

Spending by overseas residents during UK trips so far this year has reached £12.57 billion – one per cent down on the January-September 2009 figure the ONS added.