Utilising Britain’s uniqueness

By | Business
Overseas visitors spent £21.01 billion in the UK in 2013, up 12.7 percent year-on-year. Image credit - Thom Davies via flickr.com

A Tourism Council has been set up by between the Government and the tourism and hospitality sector. It will focus on improving skills, increasing the quality and quantity of jobs available and boosting enterprise in the industry.

Speaking at the British Hospitality Association annual summit Minister for Tourism Helen Grant said that the new Tourism Council, an industry-led board of employers and leading players in the sector, would share and develop best practice so that tourism continues to thrive.

The Tourism Council, which will hold its inaugural meeting next month, will be co-chaired by the Tourism Minister, the Minister for Skills and Enterprise, Matthew Hancock and Simon Vincent, a senior industry representative from Hilton Worldwide.

The Council will be made up of 22 members representing industries engaged in transportation, hospitality, entertainment, travel and accommodation. Signed up members include VisitBritain, VisitEngland and the British Hospitality Association along with companies such as John Lewis and Whitbread.

The Minister for Tourism said, “The tourism and hospitality industry helps us sell Britain, helps contribute to economic growth and helps drive investment. The Government is committed to working in partnership with the sector to build on the success achieved to date and to help deliver further economic growth for tourism related businesses across the country.

In a discussion about tourism in the UK, the Skills and Enterprise Minister, Matthew Hancock said, “Small businesses in towns and villages across the country are the bedrock of our tourism industry and an important part of the wider economy. We must do everything we can to ensure they have the right environment to thrive and grow.

Looking at tourism as a whole, overseas visitors spent £21.01 billion in the UK in 2013, up 12.7 percent year-on-year. This strong growth was helped by an increasing number of Chinese visitors coming to the UK. The number of visits from people from China was up 9.7 per cent to 196,000 with spending up 63.8 per cent to £491.7 million.

A recent report by Barclays, showed that by 2017, total expenditure by domestic and overseas tourists in the UK is expected to increase by 27% to just over £135.5billion. Whilst overseas tourist expenditure is anticipated to grow rapidly, UK tourists will still make up the majority of the spending, suggesting that the trend of holidaying in the UK will continue.

By 2017, domestic tourist expenditure on hospitality and leisure is set to grow to almost £69 billion, with an additional £15.6 billion being spent on retail goods, a total increase of 25%, according to the report.

Barclays added that the growth in domestic tourism is largely being driven by continuing cost of living issues, with many of them now opting to bypass overseas travel in favour of locations in the UK.

Mike Saul, head of hospitality and leisure at Barclays, commented, “The economy is improving and confidence is certainly growing, and while this will lead to a gradual rise in the number of consumers looking to holiday aboard again”.

The research, which was conducted during the first three months of the year, revealed that London will continue to top the league table, attracting 16% of domestic spend in 2017. The South East, South West and Scotland were also found to be popular choices.

How Britain is marketed is very important, today we are in the third digital revolution, which has been enabled by social media and mobile technology. The general business goal in this phase is to help and serve people at their point of need, whether they are looking for a movie review, the best price on a laptop, or product information at the point of sale at a retail store.

In the next 18-24 months we will be entering the fourth digital revolution. This will be an era of explosive marketing creativity and innovation enabled by wearable technology and augmented reality.

The impact of this development will be profound; experts suggest that it will be more profound than the Internet itself. They believe the way we learn, discover, connect and entertain us will be dramatically altered. This advancement will change how businesses market themselves and how Britain markets itself.

What additional techniques could be used to improve the way Britain is marketed?

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