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Britain tourism bounces back post-pandemic | UK | Travel

TOURISM agency VisitBritain this week forecast strong growth for UK tourism in 2024, predicting spending of £34.1billion by international visitors (up seven per cent on 2023; which is up 20 per cent on 2019). Furthermore, 39.5 million visits are forecast (up 5 per cent on the 37.8 million in 2023) – which is only 3 per cent down on pre-Covid levels.

The message is that Britain is bouncing back after the global pandemic, and its American visitors who have largely driven the recovery, with separate figures revealing how a record 1.3 million US tourists came in spring.

Americans have always had a love affair with the capital. In surveys, they frequently cite the Royal Family, London’s history and its iconic attractions such as Big Ben and the London Eye as its biggest draws.

But the capital has also seen a huge influx of visitors in the wake of the late Queen’s death and King Charles’ Coronation. Moreover, the dollar has performed strongly against the pound, following former Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-Budget last year, making the UK an economical destination for overseas visitors.

And that’s even with the controversial abolition of tax-free shopping by the Treasury in 2021 that had previously allowed visitors from overseas to claim a VAT refund.

And the good news is that this increase in tourism is expected to continue throughout 2024 and into 2025.

VisitBritain’s CEO Patricia Yates celebrated the recovery but said competition from European countries remained “fierce”. She said: “We also want more destinations across Britain to feel tourism’s economic benefits. Our global Great Britain campaigns are showcasing our vibrant cities, contemporary culture and beautiful coast and countryside, inspiring visitors to discover more of Britain, stay longer and to come now.”

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