FEATURE6 February 2017

Visitor attraction

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Brexit Features Impact Leisure & Arts Travel Trends UK

The falling pound has been just one factor influencing tourism and its role in the UK economy – VisitBritain’s Richard Nicholls talks to Steve Hemsley about visitor trends past, present and future


VisitBritain’s head of research and forecasting, Richard Nicholls, had just returned from a holiday in the South of France when we met in London – a city he calls a revenue-generating honey pot when it comes to UK tourism.

Nicholls is a little embarrassed that he did not take a ‘stay-cation’ in the country he promotes but, as he says, he enjoys many beautiful places around Britain as part of his day job, citing trips to Wales and Cumbria among recent highlights.  

Tourism is worth £126.9bn a year to Britain’s economy, and research plays a crucial role in helping VisitBritain boost visitor numbers and revenue. Travel is the sixth largest export industry with overseas (inbound) visitors contributing £22.1bn in 2015.

VisitBritain – which includes VisitEngland – sits within the Department for Culture, Media & Sport and its main source of insight is the long-standing International Passenger Survey (IPS) conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

This survey ...