In spite of a series of knock backs over recent years British tourism is once again a booming business. So says a new report from VisitBritain, the UK's tourism authority.
The official data shows that 8.36 million people visited the UK between June and August - an 8% year-on-year improvement and an all-time record.
Statistics on visitors to Brighton & Hove are not currently collected on a monthly basis so it is not possible to estimate the city’s share of the influx. However, the council’s Destination Marketing team is gearing up to start monitoring footfall at a high level of detail and will be in a position to comment on such trends in the near future.
Tourism has been in the doll drums since the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001. Foot and Mouth disease did much to prolong the agony and then there was the war in Iraq, SARS and the global economic downturn.
The figures show that Britain is now back on track as a tourist destination. The detail makes encouraging reading too. Those much-needed high-spending Americans are back in the frame with an increase of 12.5% compared with last year while visitors from Western Europe are up 6%. All other countries account for a 7% increase.
The overall trend for 2004 has been generally good with an increase of 13% in the first eight months of the year. That represents a total of 18.5 million people coming into Britain.
The only slight downer is that visitors are not spending quite as much money as they used to. Spending by visitors in shops, guest-houses and restaurants has not increased proportionately with their numbers. The total spend across the sectors was up just 5% in August compared with the same month last year.
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