UK hotels set for bumper year with visitor numbers on the up

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British hotels and the leisure industry are set for a record year with a substantial increase in both home and international visitors planning holidays in the UK.

According to The Barclays Corporate Banking report, Destination UK: driving growth in the UK hospitality and leisure sector 63% of international holidaymakers said they are more interested in holidaying in the UK compared to last year, thanks to the weakness of the pound making the UK more attractive.

Interestingly, the survey, which questioned almost 10,000 guests from around the world, highlighted the power of TV programmes such as The Crown in driving British appeal, particularly among Chinese (44%) and US (26%) guests.

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Greater spending power (30%) was also cited as a key reason why they were more interested in visiting the UK in 2017.

The staycation’s popularity also continues to rise, with nearly a third (30%) of UK holidaymakers expecting to spend more of their holiday time in the UK this year.

Mike Saul, head of hospitality & leisure at Barclays, said: “2017 looks set to be a strong year for the British hospitality sector with both domestic and international visitors increasingly intent on spending more time here.”

In regards to Brexit, the majority of international holidaymakers (51%) report that the vote to leave the EU has had no impact on their likelihood to visit the UK, and nearly a third (31%) reported that they are more likely to visit the UK than before the referendum.

Other international trends revealed by the research include the regions visitors are keenest to visit, with London (67%) and Scotland (44%) topping the list.

Interest in Oxford and Cambridge is also notably higher for Chinese guests.

The research also showed that younger UK consumers are more interested in a high-tech approach to the leisure sector than older consumers. Over a third (36%) of 18-34s would be more likely to use a bar that invested in automated drinks dispensing, compared to just 6% of the 55 and overs.

Younger consumers are also more comfortable with automated ordering in restaurants, with 43% of 18-34s saying they would be more likely to use such a restaurant compared to 14% of the 55 and overs.

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