Tourism is booming in the UK, with record numbers of both international and British domestic travellers this year.
Tourism Minister John Glen has praised “world-class attractions and the innovation of our tourism industry”, while British Tourist Authority chairman Steve Ridgway has put the value of tourism at £127bn annually to the UK economy, with the sector employing three million. But he also warned that a weak currency attracting overseas visitors and encouraging Brits to stay at home is not enough on which to build a strong, resilient industry.
The top five visitor attractions in 2016 were all in London – the British Museum (6.4 million visits), the National Gallery (6.3 million), Tate Modern (5.8 million), the Natural History Museum (4.6 million) and the Southbank Centre (3.9 million) – but Britain’s beaches and rural attractions also attracted more domestic users.
UK tourists’ debit card spending is also down when abroad compared with last summer, providing more evidence of the trend towards holidaying at home.