As 2012 draws to a close, we take a positive look back at the highs of a tourism industry surviving, and not infrequently thriving, during tough economic times.
Many of our clients enjoyed an exciting and, in the case of Beeston Castle, pleasantly surprising
year. During a routine ‘hibernation check’ the Cheshire Bat Group discovered
lesser horseshoe bats roosting in caves around the English Heritage property.
Last recorded at the site in 1948, this plum-sized species (usually restricted to
Wales and the Midlands) was a thrilling find for local wildlife enthusiasts.
Last month, SnowdonMountain Railway took delivery of new carriages for the first time since
their existing ones were introduced in the 1920s. Providing extra comfort and
with space for additional passengers, the modern coaches nevertheless retain an
original look and feel of the steam era. Funding was provided in part by the
A Bactarian camel calf was born at Knowsley Safari Park in March. Hundreds
of visitors flocked to see the double-humped youngster, which is endangered in the
Sticking with the animal theme, two Asian
short-clawed otters were born at ChesterZoo in May. The babies were named Daley and Rebecca in honour of the
popular British Olympians: diver Tom Daley and swimmer Rebecca Adlington.
Nationally, pubs serving food profited from UK diners eating out more
frequently (according to Horizons’ Quickbite Survey). Data showed that the
average adult eats out almost three times over a two-week period, with pub
restaurants accounting for 19% of those visits.
Back in June, the international Passenger Survey revealed that Britain
had benefitted from an increase in inbound tourism with a 10% leap during April
(a record 2.9 million visits from overseas and spending at £1.4 billion),
compared with the same period the previous year. All told, the first four
months of 2012 saw 9.3 million visits – a significant 6% increase. Over the
year as a whole, inbound tourism contributed 18.7 billion to Britain’s economy,
making it the nation’s third biggest earner of foreign exchange.
In August, the number of domestic overnight holidays rose by 13% (Great
Britain Tourism Survey), with just under eight million trips taken that month.
Figures from the national tourist board also showed that domestic trips had
increased during 2012.
So, what can the industry expect from 2013? According to VisitBritain there
will be a probable 3% increase in international tourism, which will mean almost
one million additional visits to the UK. There is no doubt that we will
continue to face many challenges both nationally and locally but, as the
Culture Secretary, Maria Miller made clear at the World Travel Market in November,
tourism is key to the UK's growth strategy and many think it could be our
fastest growing sector over the next decade.
On that upbeat note, we would like to wish our clients, associates, friends and readers a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!
Christmas tree, ©VisitBritain /Britain on View 2010