Booming economies to boost tourism

THE number of visits to the UK by people from the fast-growing "Bric" economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China is set to soar, it was forecast today.

Visitors from China are likely to increase by 89 per cent over the next four years, bringing almost an extra 100,000 travellers to the UK by 2014, said the organisation VisitBritain.

Indian tourist numbers are predicted to rise by 29 per cent, with visits by Russians rising by 24 per cent and from Brazilians by 18 per cent.

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However, the largest number of visitors over the next four years will still come from the UK's traditional top five travelling nations – France, Ireland, the United States, Germany and Spain.

The number of UK-bound tourists from these countries is set to increase by an extra 3.3 million visitors by 2014, with most coming from France.

A report by VisitBritain said the forecasts depended on there being no new limits to airport capacity, no new visa regulations, no "external shock" extraordinary events, and the continuation of worldwide promotional campaigns by the organisation and its partners.

VisitBritain chief executive Sandie Dawe said: "This in-depth research shows that over the next few years the prospects for the UK tourism industry should be positive. Visitor numbers overall were down by six per cent last year, due largely to a sharp drop in international business travel.

"But thanks to a good deal of hard work, we were still able to grow the inbound holiday tourism market by five per cent, outperforming many European competitors."

The growth in "grey tourism" in the UK is also set to continue, with more and more senior citizens visiting from abroad.

Last year a total of 5.4 million over-55s came to Britain from overseas – almost one in five of the total visitor numbers.

This compared with a ratio of one in eight in 1993.

The biggest share of this market is British ex-patriates, followed by Americans.

Research showed that over-55s had a more positive perception of Britain than younger people.

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