According to VisitBritain, the UK is likely to beat its 2020 tourism target by the end of 2018.
The country was hoping to achieve 40 million annual inbound visits by 2020, but it is looking as though a total of 40.9 million will be achieved by the end of this year, a whole two years early; these visitors will contribute approximately £26.3 billion to the economy.
Inbound visits to the UK hit record numbers of 39.2 million in 2017, a four-per-cent rise compared with 2016, while spending registered a nine-per-cent rise, hitting £24.5 billion. Domestic tourism has also registered an increase, with 2017 seeing both trips and spending within the UK rising by six per cent.
However, British tourism authorities are still concerned about the impact that Brexit could have on the sector, with Steve Ridgway, Chairman of the Tourism Authority, calling it ‘the most important’ challenge the industry is currently facing: “Whilst we address the initial fluctuations in currency and EU worker concerns, we soon will need to deal with the longer-term realities. We want to ensure that the future relationship keeps our borders as frictionless as possible for visitors, our aviation as connected as ever, and our economic stability on track – because tourism depends on this.”