While the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) reports Britain’s services sector is feeling the squeeze, with a drop in spending on accountancy legal and other advisory work, BAA’s six airports reported a jump in passengers in July. London hotel rooms have also been showing a summer occupancy of 92 per cent despite average room rates of £148.65 per night.
Pessimists, no doubt, will point to awful weather, riots and the backdrop of the continuing weak economy, as well as problems in the States and Eurozone from where many inbound visitors come.
The optimistic view can point to an uplift in visitors from BRICSA nations, as well as Korea and Australia, among others. Russians, who now make 170,000 visits to Britain each year, are spending a average £1,140 per trip, while visits from Brazilians are up 80 per cent in 2011.
The Times Business Editor Ian King, writing in the newspaper’s Business Tourism supplement 31 August, notes that the impact of cuts in promotional budgets is starting to be felt by tourism chiefs. “In the North East,” he says, “they are complaining that they are suffering disproportionately because of the region’s proximity to Scotland, where the Nationalist administration has kept its marketing budget in place.”
South of the border, destination marketing chiefs will probably have to put their faith in the 2012 London Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee to drive any attempt to equal the country’s 2008 visitor record.
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