2014 was a record year for UK tourism

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23rd February 2015 13:12 - Sport, Leisure and Tourism

According to the government, 2014 was a record year for UK inbound tourism, due to a 6 per cent increase in the number of visitors.2014 was a record year for UK tourism

Tourism chiefs, along with ministers, are said to believe that inbound tourism to the UK is still in the midst of a period of growth, which started as a result of the London Olympics in 2012.

The Olympics adopted a strong marketing campaign, which advertised the UK as a “great” place to visit. As a result, the UK received a spike in tourism.

However, data analysts who monitor the booking transactions of travel agents weren't so optimistic. They claim that last year, the amount of visitors to the UK was not as high as other European countries. The analysts claim that the UK’s inbound industry is not securing as many lucrative US visitors and as a result, falling behind other countries.

Along with the data analysts, The British Hospitality Association has also expressed their concerns surrounding tourism in the UK. Chairman of the association and CEO of Merlin Entertainments, Nick Varney said of the topic: “There’s a little bit more optimism in some of the numbers than on the ground .That’s always been the case.”

When examining figures from the Office for National Statistics, it can be seen that in 2014, inbound visits to the UK grew to 34.8 million, up on 2013 by 2 million.

External visitors spent £21.7 billion in 2013, which is an increase of 3% since 2013.

The UK’s most important market is North America, which saw a 4% increase to 3.7 million.

ForwardKeys, who analyse long-haul bookings from travel agents, put forward an alternative picture of tourism of in the UK. They claimed that long-haul booking to the UK increased by just 2.8% last year, a stark contrast from The Netherlands’ growth rate of 8.4%.

Closely following The Netherlands, who has the highest rate of growth in long-haul bookings, was Italy, with 8.1%, and Spain with 7.3%.

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