VisitBritain reveals how will be 2016 for the tourism industry. VisitBritain said that it has been a record-breaking year to date for inbound tourism numbers and spend to the UK and growth looks set to continue in 2016.
In spite of the strength of sterling, spending by overseas visitors is predicted to reach almost £23bn in 2016, a 4.2% increase on spending this year which is expected to top out at £22bn, a 0.7% increase on 2014.
The number of overseas visitors to the UK is expected to rise next year to 36.7million visits, up 3.8% on 2015 which is likely to see about 35.4 million visits by year end.
The forecast puts VisitBritain on track to realise its ambition for growing international visits to Britain by more than 20% over the next five years to 42 million visits by 2020, which could see an additional £4.5 billion in visitor spend.
VisitBritain Chief Executive Sally Balcombe said: "Everything we do is motivated by the goal to add value to the tourism industry by building our competitive tourism offer and driving economic growth and jobs across all our nations and regions, so that the benefits of tourism are felt across the whole of Britain.
"We are competing in a tough international environment and these results highlight how strongly the tourism sector, one of the UK's fastest growing export industries, has performed and how the Government's tourism strategy, supported by the GREAT campaign, is producing results."
VisitBritain's campaigns have continued to produce results and generated an extra £2.5 billion in international visitor spend in Britain during the last four years. This means that every £1 invested in VisitBritain's activities has resulted in an overseas visitor spending £21 in Britain. And to this can be added the £630 million delivered by VisitBritain, thanks to its continuing role as a partner in the cross-UK Government GREAT campaign.
A focus for VisitBritain this year has been to raise awareness of the beauty of Britain's countryside through its global Countryside is GREAT campaign to showcase the rural landscape. International perceptions of the UK's ‘natural beauty' - a traditionally less lauded attribute - reached new heights this year, coming inside the top 20 global ranking for the first time, taking 18th spot out of 50 nations in the 2015 Anholt-GfK Nations Brand Index survey published in November.