Visitor numbers to the UK will top 30m as tourism to the UK returns to growth next year, according to predictions from VisitBritain.
VisitBritain expects a rise of 0.8% in the number of visitors to the UK to 30.4 million – boosted by a weak pound and an improving economic situation.
The tourism authority – which is launching a three-pronged campaign to boost tourism next year – predicts tourist spending will rise 4% to £17.1 billion in 2010.
VisitBritain chief executive Sandie Dawe said: “Over recent years tourism has been the fastest growing industry in the world.
“In the UK, it is the fifth largest industry and third largest export earner.
“Our forecasts suggest that whilst, 2010 will not see record numbers of inbound visitors or visitor spend, the prolonged weakness in the value of sterling will result in a stronger performance, particularly in visitor spend.
“These figures from the International Passenger Survey, and VisitBritain’s forecasts, suggest that Britain’s tourism is now heading back in the right direction and whilst conditions will still be tough, we believe that the exchange rate will make Britain attractive and offer exceptional value for the new year.”
VisitBritain is launching three tourism campaigns next year focusing on three themes: Classic, Dynamic and Luxury.
Despite the global recession, the UK saw an increase of 300,000 visitors to October this year compared to 2008.
Dawe added: “The Ryder Cup will also take place in Britain in 2010 at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, South Wales and we will be capitalising on the opportunities that hosting this prestigious event brings.
“So, challenging times ahead, but there are some signs of optimism, with VisitBritain launching key campaigns which will help build the value of the visitor economy in the UK over the next year.”