Stonehenge - Stonehenge - Visit Britain tourism figures

Stonehenge - Visit Britain tourism figuresAs the summer of 2017 drew to a close the anecdotal feeling throughout much of the industry was that it had been a busy one, and we’re delighted to say that the latest Visit Britain tourism figures make very pleasant reading for those within the UK’s thriving tourism sector.

The number of tourists visiting the UK from abroad during July 2017 stood at a whopping 4.02 million. The first time the four million mark had been topped in a single month, and the largest figure since records began in 1961!

Industry experts have suggested that the weaker pound against the euro and dollar during the past twelve months has contributed to an increase in international visitors seeking to take advantage of great deals and currency leverage, which when combined with more brits staying within the UK for their summer holidays, has led to an overall swell in visitor numbers and nights during the peak months.

Let’s take a more detailed look at some of the latest figures…

Record-breaking Visit Britain tourism figures

The latest figures (which are for July 2017) show that the first half of the summer (May through to July) saw an increase of 4% in overall visitor numbers, making it the busiest opening to a UK summer season on record, with 11.1 million overseas visits made to Blighty during the period.

Spending is up

There is even more good news as data shows that tourists have also been spending more than ever before. During July 2017 spending associated with tourism rose by 3% compared to the same month last year, reaching a whopping £2.8 billion. With record-setting results in six of the first seven months of the year, inbound visitors spent a record £13.3 billion in the first seven months of 2017, 9% more than during the first part of 2016.

Director at VisitBritain, Patricia Yates, said “Very often people budget in their own currency. They’re getting more pounds for their money, and we can see their spend going up.”

Where are the visitors coming from?

The two core long haul regions are the US and China. Both have seen significant increases when it comes to making trips to the UK. They’re up 19% and 29% respectively year on year.

“We’ve seen the American market coming back,” Yates said. “They are high spenders so we like them. Even smaller hotels in Wales are saying they are seeing American visitors. Not only do they go to London, they travel around and explore the regions. They are great visitors to have.”

The UK is also proving a popular choice for EU holidaymakers. 8.3 million visits recorded during the first quarter of 2017, which is an increase of 7%.

What does all of this mean?

The increase in visitor figures will come as a welcome relief for the industry in light of previous fears that recent terror attacks on Manchester and the capital could lead to international travelers staying away, as had been seen with visitor numbers to Paris and other areas of France after similar events.

Patricia added; “This sustained growth demonstrates Britain’s continued ability to compete internationally for visitors and shows that tourism, one of our most valuable export industries, is an increasingly important driver of economic growth across our nations and regions,”.

It will be interesting to see the figures for August and see if the records continue to be broken.

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. Need an insurance quote for your holiday let? Give us a call on 01237 429444.

UK visitor numbers show increasing trend

UK visitor numbers show increasing trendThere has been much conjecture over the potential impact of Brexit on the UK tourism sector since the EU referendum. One thing is for certain, all of the statistics now being released on last year’s visitor numbers are incredibly encouraging.

Recent reports have largely focussed on the perceived renaissance in domestic travel and the ‘staycation’. Whilst now a rise in overseas travel that is also being celebrated. The latest industry statistics from Visit England, with a 3% increase on 2015 meaning more than 37.3 million tourists flocked to our shores in 2016.

Let’s take a more in-depth look at where these visitors are coming from, and the potential reasons underpinning this upturn…

Visitor numbers up

Although the UK continues to be a popular holiday destination for many around the world, it’s those travelling from across the Atlantic that have seen the largest increase.  A whopping 4.3 million US citizens visited the UK in 2016, a 7% increase on the previous year.

The reason for this may have been the competitive exchange rates between the two countries during this period. Thus allowing Americans seeking a slice of Britain competitive rates on accommodation and other expenditure during their time here.

EU Visits break previous records

Despite the United Kingdom opting to leave the European Union in June, visits from the other 27 member states broke the record books for a second consecutive year. 25.3 million visits were made from our European counterparts, an increase of 4% on the figures enjoyed in 2015.

VisitBritain Chief Executive Sally Balcombe said: “The strong growth in inbound visits demonstrates British tourism’s continued ability to compete for international visitors and deliver economic growth across our nations and regions.

“We must seize the opportunity to build on this, boosting visitor spending by driving home the message of welcome and value particularly in our high spending markets such as China and the US and the valuable European market.”

Winter trips increased

Holiday visits to the UK saw a boost towards the end of the year, resulting in an 11% increase between October and December. That’s 3.2 million visits during the winter season and a large area of growth for many accommodation providers.

It also looks like Brits have been inviting their nearest and dearest to join them on holiday. Inbound visits to friends and relatives rose a huge 10% to 11.5 million visits. The vast majority of these visits were made outside of the Greater London area, which commands a large proportion of international visits and is a great indicator of the growing strength of the UK’s tourism market.

Looking ahead

2016’s end of year surge gives a positive outlook for 2017, despite uncertainties surrounding Britain’s exit from the European Union. January 2017 saw an 11% rise on visitors from the previous year. This adds further indication that Britain’s tourism industry is set to have yet another fruitful year. Let’s hope for plenty of sunshine to help it along the way!

For more information on what this year could hold, read our previous post on UK inbound tourism in 2017.

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. Require a quote for your holiday apartment, cottage or complex? Please give us a call on 01237 429444.

Stonehenge - Stonehenge - Visit Britain tourism figures

Stonehenge - tourism With the summer season now in full swing we’ve been casting our eye back to the beginning of the year. The latest statistics from Visit England’s Great Britain Tourism Survey (released in recent weeks) has given us the initial indications of how the industry performed throughout the first quarter, a season during which many holiday homeowners and agencies will be looking to grow bookings.

Here’s the overview of how the industry is looking…

Record breaking results!

Let’s start with some great news; domestic tourism in the UK appears to be on the up.

The results, which cover January – March 2016, reveal a record breaking first quarter with a 23% increase in spending from last year, in no small amount due to a 10% increase in domestic overnight holiday trips.

That works out as a total spending of £1.8 billion and 7.3 million visits. Very positive signs.

Monthly break down

So how do those increases spread out across the first three months of that quarter?

The answer is reasonably equally, with January, February and March all seeing marked year on year increases in visits and visitor spend.

During January visitors to England spent 9.2% more than last year, with February also seeing a 14% year on year hike (that’s £978 million in real terms). It doesn’t stop there either; March smashed all records with a 32.6% year on year increase in expenditure shared across the British Isles.

Regional growth for the South West and West Midlands

When breaking growth down by region the West Country and the West Midlands have been the biggest winners. More and more of us are now visiting the South West outside of the main season, as demonstrated by an 8% increase in visits during February.

Meanwhile, the West Midlands pulled in 11% more visitors than in the corresponding period last year.

Being inventive with pricing, short breaks and incentives appears to continue to be vital in attracting visitors to destinations during these winter months, and holiday homeowners have done this well in recent years.

London continues to draw international and domestic visitors

The capital continues to be a large draw for anyone visiting the country from abroad, as well as for domestic tourism. This statement was backed up by London seeing the largest increase in nights; up 16% in February, and a huge 28% in March.

Spending soaring in the East of England

The East of England saw the biggest increase in spending during February (a staggering 32% up). This growth was also mirrored during March, and even beaten with spend peaking 35% up on the previous year.

The East Midlands was another area in which visitor spend skyrocketed by 25% in February and another 24% throughout the year to date.

The rest of the year

Based on the impressive results of the first quarter, it is looking like the second quarter will continue to display an increase. At the end of 2015, £19.6 billion was spent through domestic overnight tourism in England across all trip-purposes. Will 2016 out do 2015? We’ll have to wait and see, but the signs definitely look good for holiday homeowners.

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. For more information on how a specialist insurer can help and support your holiday home business, please give us a call on 01237 429444.

Holiday Cottages Mousehole Cornwall tourism Trends

Holiday Cottages Mousehole Cornwall tourism TrendsWe speak with holiday homeowners and their holiday home letting agents each and every day. This constant contact gives us an understanding of the issues you’re facing on a daily basis, but we also strive to understand the bigger picture; what’s making the industry tick, tourism trends and the opportunities these developments potentially provide you with.

In October we looked at the Great British Tourism Survey in our post Industry trends – What do they mean for holiday home bookings? and what it could mean for you as a holiday homeowner. This month we bring you an analysis from Visit England’s latest tourism trends dashboard along with the latest tourism trends and statistics.

Tourism trends – Occupancy rates are on the up

The great news is that occupancy rates across the country continue to rise.  They’re up again year on year by another 2.3%, making that a five-year rise of 7.4%. This rise is evenly spread throughout the UK with Yorkshire, the North West, South West and East of England all enjoying five percentage point increases in recent years.

Tourism trends – The continuing emergence of the ‘Millennials’

What exactly is a Millenial? It’s the term given to those born between the 1980s and the turn of the century and they represent 15 million UK residents (31% of the adult population).

In terms of tourism they currently account for 28% of total overnight trips made in the UK, spending in the region of £4.4 billion on their way.

Perhaps the most interesting point for holiday homeowners is that their predominant reason for travel is to visit friends and family. This is increasing the number of short breaks and stays under three nights and may be linked to the continued rise in occupancy rates outside of the traditional peak months.

Tourism trends – Staycation vs Overseas Visits

Whilst much publicity is often given to the ‘staycation’ and figures related to those holidaying within the UK, the good news is that we continue to be a popular option for international travellers.

Latest figures show a total of 27 million visits were made from overseas visitors between January and September this year, a 3% increase on the same period in 2014.

The number of people visiting towards the end of summer is also on the up, with more than 3 million visits made in September alone.

Tourism trends – Visitors have more disposable income

Figures show that spending is on the increase with an extra 9% in tourist spend splurged during holidays in England between January and August.

This takes the total spent to a staggering £82 billion with the South West, South East and North West all accounting for visitor spending in excess of £9 billion each.

General feedback from across the industry is that visitor expectations are becoming more and more exacting; the good news for holiday homeowners is that they’re likely to be willing to pay for the quality that meets those expectations.

Positive outlook for next year

The majority are feeling more positive about their finances following the turbulent economic conditions of recent years and will now be looking at, if not, already booking trips and accommodation for next year.

Latest figures show people are cutting back less on holidays than they were in March 2014 and although the predicted number of short trips taken next year are down, VisitEngland expects a stable market for longer holidays in England.

If you are in the business of holiday letting you’ll want to ensure that your holiday home properties are adequately insured. For further information on UK holiday home insurance visit the website page most relevant to you:

For more information on how our specialist holiday home insurance could help cover your property please give our friendly team a call on 01237 429444. 

industry trends

industry trendsAs specialists in holiday home insurance we speak to cottage owners each and every day. We hear what they’re experiencing on the ground, and for that reason we’re always paying close attention to the latest Visit England statistics, which give a great indication of how buoyant holiday home bookings are the health of the industry as a whole.

Is the future for holiday home bookings still bright?

We’ve taken a look at the most recent Great Britain Tourism Survey (2015), and what it could mean for you as a holiday homeowner.

The ‘staycation’ is still alive – more choosing the UK over the continent

Economic turbulence and recession in recent years has been linked to more and more visitors willing to take a short trip on these shores instead of venturing abroad; all hail the revival of the ‘staycation’.

Despite an upturn in economic performance there is no sign of this trend diminishing.  The first half of 2015 saw visitor numbers increase by 12%, whilst trips to the continent dropped by 16% during the same period.

Good news for all round for holiday homeowners across the country, and particularly the South West of England, where demand has been at its highest in five years.

Visitors spending more – are you promoting your destination?

Visitor spend has increased again; those visiting holiday homes and other accommodation providers have been spending 13% more in the first six months of this year.

Have you effectively built relationships with other businesses in your area; food and drink providers, restaurants, family attractions and other places of interest? With visitors spending more and more it’s a great time of the year to be checking and updating your website; are the best local spots on yours?

Time to take advantage of the growing demand for shoulder months

A growing trend for many holiday homeowners in recent years has been to extend the summer season and gain increased numbers of holiday home bookings during what are still commonly known as ‘shoulder months’.

If you haven’t already considered this, now may well be the time; bed nights for January to April were up by a staggering 22%.  If you want to gain access to this growing market you need to be putting your plan into action now.  Have you spoken to your letting agent about extending your availability? Perhaps offering shortened breaks or lowered costs for the winter months?

If you’re marketing your own property, is all of the information on your availability prominently displayed? Do you have great winter photography of that roaring wood fire? Are you emailing previous guests and enquiries to tempt them away?

Growing search engine marketplace

Google report that searches for the term “Holiday Cottage” increased for the sixth consecutive year; up by almost 3% on last year.  If you’re marketing your own property then getting your search engine rankings in order should be high on the priority list for this winter as more and more people continue to access their options through search engines. Remember that letting agents may be able to add value to your business by putting you in a larger Google shop window, therefore securing you additional holiday home bookings.

They’re doing it on mobile, are you?

If you’re not already aware, Google launched an algorithm update in April of this year that said if your site wasn’t mobile friendly then you’d begin to rank lower when visitors are searching from their mobile.

Smart Insights now report we’ve passed the ‘mobile tipping point’.  What does this really mean? More searches are now made from mobiles and tablets than they are from desktop computers.  When you consider that an ever-increasing number of your visitors are finding you from search, can you afford to be missing out? It has never been more important to have a mobile site than today, and it’ll be even more so tomorrow.

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to holiday letting owners across the UK. For more information on how a specialist insurer can help and support your holiday home business, please give us a call on 01237 429444.