Figures from the latest International Passenger Survey (IPS) show inbound tourism has delivered all-time record revenue to Britain over the past 12 months with more holiday visitors than ever before. The findings from the International Passenger Survey, released this morning, reveal a 6% increase in visitor spend to £18.2 billion for the twelve months to May 2012 with incoming holiday visitors over the period reaching a record 12.3 million.
Christopher Rodrigues, Chairman of VisitBritain said:
“This is a Gold Medal winning performance by the British Tourism industry just before the opening of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games – but the real challenge lies ahead as our global competitors raise their game in response to the job creation opportunity offered by the tourism industry.
“With the eyes of the world upon us, 2012 provides a unique opportunity to showcase the UK’s extraordinary tourism assets – our culture, our history, our countryside, our food and our world-renowned retail brands.
“The GREAT campaign has already carried that message to 90 million residents in 14 of the world’s leading cities and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee provided the world with a taster of what Britain has to offer.
“Now, with an expected global TV audience of over 4 million viewers watching this year’s Olympics, we are ready to showcase Britain to the world, encouraging past visitors from our traditional markets in North America and Europe to visit us again and putting ourselves front-of-mind in the rapidly growing tourism markets of Asia, the Middle East, Latin and South America by reaching out to countries like Brazil and to high spending markets like China.
“The Games provide a wonderful platform, but tourism is a fiercely competitive business and there is no room for complacency. The real challenge comes after the Games.
“Our major competitors, which include the USA, France, China and Spain are all raising their game with improved visa processing, lower taxes and increasing investment in tourism infrastructure and marketing because they understand that in a time of weak economic growth and high unemployment – particularly amongst the young – investing in Tourism is a proven winner - creating jobs, delivering growth and providing significant proven returns on investment.
“Many of our tourism competitors face even tougher economic conditions than we do – and maybe because of that they are turning to tourism to provide a powerful engine to support recovery.
“What is absolutely clear is that to stay a Gold medal winner you have to keep improving your Personal Best performances. So our industry, our tourism promotion agencies and our Government need to work together as never before to raise Britain’s game if we are to continue to be medal winners in the years ahead.
“VisitBritain and its partners will roll out of the next phase of the GREAT marketing campaign immediately after the Games to ensure that the unprecedented coverage of Britain during the Games is converted into increased visitors to our country. We are determined to avoid the post Games decline that has hurt so many previous major event organisers.
“Our industry’s record performance in the past twelve months has been the result of unprecedented levels of collaboration and partnership marketing between the industry and our public diplomacy partners at UKTI and the Foreign Office and Visit Britain.
“In the Autumn VisitBritain will deliver a consultation document which lays out a market by market partnership plan to make our best ever performance even better.