At the ABTA Travel Convention 2013 held in Dubrovnik this month, the national tourist board, VisitEngland, announced the latest tourism figures for summer this year. According to the organisation’s ‘Tourism Business Monitor’ – a regular survey of accommodation and visitor attractions in England – summer figures are looking hot! 55% of accommodation businesses and 66% of visitor attractions reported increased visitors numbers, representing the highest increase since the survey started. Suffice to say the UK’s summer weather helped, too…
James Berresford, VisitEngland’s Chief Executive said: “The unexpected heat wave of 2013 has certainly given English tourism a shot in the arm with operators and destinations throughout the country reporting soaring figures. What is especially encouraging is that this improvement in visitor numbers has boosted optimism in the industry with the majority of our businesses predicting 2013 to be a better year than 2012.”
Hotels, camping and caravanning businesses and outdoor attractions have seen a greater year on year improvement than other sectors driven by an increase in all visitor types. Hotels especially are the most confident looking forward to the October half term period.
This year’s boost has backed up the tourist board’s claim since the events of 2012 that there continues to exist a hearty appetite for holidays in England. Looking ahead, 56% of accommodation businesses describe forward bookings as good, compared to 51% at this time last year. Across both accommodation, and attractions sectors, levels of confidence for the autumn period are slightly higher than in September 2012.
Initial results from VisitEngland’s evaluation of the ‘Holidays at Home are GREAT’ campaign launched in May this year and starring loveable duo Wallace & Gromit, show the campaign was highly visible and motivating especially with the core audience of families. Designed to encourage domestic visitors to book a holiday in the UK with their local travel agent, the pan-UK campaign has succeeded in increasing awareness among the general public that the high street travel agent is knowledgeable about breaks and holidays in the UK and offers good value for money. Final results from the campaign will be available by the end of the year.