Heat wave lures in tourists as economy shakes off winter gloom
Mediterranean temperatures lead to an increase in ‘staycations’ – and a surge in foreign visits
The UK is enjoying its longest, hottest summer in years – and the good weather is causing a boom for the country’s tourism sector.
Patricia Yates, director of Visit Britain, told the BBC the hot weather is acting as a “timely reminder” for the increasing numbers of people who are “making a late call on where to go on holiday”.
The Belfast Telegraph says even hoteliers in Northern Ireland are experiencing a “bumper summer”, with staycations on the rise thanks to “temperatures which have rivalled the Mediterranean”.
Foreign visitors are also contributing to the buoyancy of the sector. In the first nine months of 2017, the latest period for which figures are available, 30.1m visitors came to the UK, a rise of 7% on the same period in 2016.
“The number of visitors from China increased by a whopping 33 per cent to 268,000” over the period, says The Independent, “with their total spending while here rising by 48 per cent to a record £557m.”
Analysts are predicting another record year in 2018, in part due to the cheapness of the pound for overseas visitors. Visit Britain also “expects a 15 per cent rise in visitors from the US”, The Daily Telegraph reports, as a result of the royal wedding.
As Britain basks in the heat wave, its service sector is also looking sunnier, according to the quarterly health check by the Chartered Institute for Procurement and Supply and IHS Markit.
The survey found that growth in UK services reached an eight-month high in June as it bounced back from the effects of the unusually harsh winter. IHS Markit’s chief economist said the results suggested the British economy would expand by 0.4% in the second quarter of the year, double the growth rate of January to March.
Consumer spending in bars and restaurants led the recovery, says The Guardian, and demand for business and financial services was also strong.
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