New research commissioned by Barclays Business has shown the UK’s tourism economy to be thriving, with turnover for hospitality businesses up significantly over the last year. This year, 75% of adults in the UK have been on, or are planning to go on a UK staycation – a figure which is up from 70% on last year. Significantly, the average turnover of small and medium sized businesses in the hospitality sector rose by 8.3% in the first half of 2017 compared to the same period last year.
The weak pound has seen the UK become an attractive holiday destination for overseas tourists this year with international visitors helping to plug a drop in spend for Brits on staycations (average spend was £530, 14% less than it was in 2016). 3.5 million overseas tourists chose to holiday in the UK in June.
This is up by 7% from the same period last year, and with average budgets at £3443, these tourists are spending considerable sums on hospitality. In June alone, international tourists spent a total of £2.2bn, up by 2% since last year.
The increase in demand has prompted British entrepreneurs to respond by opening new hospitality services across the UK . According to the Office of National Statistics, throughout 2016 there were 25,000 new hospitality services opened across the UK.
The impact of Brexit had an impact on the number of Brits taking a staycation this year – 14% changed their holiday plans as a result of the vote, with 6% saying they were more likely to stay local. Further, one in ten adults planning a staycation (9%) were influenced by the value of the pound following the UK’s decision to leave the EU.
“While it’s good news for the UK economy that more Brits are opting to spend their holidays in the UK, our poll shows purse strings are being tightened and domestic spend is down. However the weak pound is attracting growing numbers of inbound tourists, which is having a healthy impact on SME businesses in the accommodation and food services sectors,” says Ian Rand, CEO of Barclays Business Banking. “It is essential that UK businesses plan ahead and carefully position themselves to take advantage of the opportunities both domestic and overseas tourists can offer. Our research shows the value of both and it’s crucial businesses market their products and services to cater for a global market and diversify between seasons."