Posts Tagged tourism

Tour de France Grand Depart in Yorkshire

Near Grassington, Yorkshire. Picture by Flickr user Andrew Bowden

Near Grassington, Yorkshire. Picture by Flickr user Andrew Bowden. CC Licence.

This weekend sees the creation of a little bit of history. For the first time, the biggest cycling event in the world, the Tour de France, commences its Grand Depart from Yorkshire!

Stage one starts on Saturday (5th July) with the cyclists travelling from Leeds through to Harrogate. The riders will start from Leeds then be officially waved off by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge when they pass through the Harewood Estate.  Stage two is the following day and travels from York to Sheffield. It is estimated that there will be around two million spectators per day and financial benefits to the region in excess of £100 million.

Expect all manner of events, decorations and celebrations throughout the weekend as Yorkshire goes Tour de France crazy! It will be a wonderful weekend to visit the county to see it and its people at their absolute best. The weather forecast currently doesn’t look too bad, with cloud and sunny spells predicted on Saturday.

Expect to see lots of art on the hillsides of the route, with grass cut into patterns and shapes, Yorkshire dialect signage to welcome visitors, plus large-scale line drawings made by the tracks of bikes cycled into the grass. There will be street art, houses painted with polka dots like the famous jersey, and roads painted with the phrase “Ey up t’Tour!” Also, there is expected to be World Record set with the longest bunting on Earth stretching just over 10 kilometres from Mytholmroyd (once home to Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath) to the summit of Blackstone Edge.

“Christian Prudhomme [the Tour director] has always said the Tour has the power to make social change. Because it’s not just about the bike. This will showcase Yorkshire to the world, showing it to be a confident, dynamic, outgoing place, representing all the things that are positive about the world this day and age.” Said Gary Verity, Chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, the tourism board responsible for the successful bid to host the Grand Depart.

He added: “Yorkshire has cool places, green places in every sense, dynamic people, rich heritage, great food and drink, cutting edge industries in all sectors, great communications, fantastic transport links. With luck it will also help to redress a bit the balance between the south and the north.”

You can plan your journey, or where to settle using the official site and if you want to combine it with some accommodation to make a weekend of it to explore the area and soak up the atmosphere go to our Yorkshire section of the website.

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Record number of visitors to UK in 2013

It’s official – the UK saw a record annual inbound spend and numbers of visitors during 2013.

The results from the Office of National Statistics show overseas visitors spent £21 billion in 2013, 13% more than the previous record breaking year of 2012 which saw £18.64 billion.

It was also a record number for tourists, with 32.89 million visits from overseas, exceeding the previous record set in 2007, which saw 32.78 million visits.

The increase is, in part, thanks to VisitBritain’s GREAT Britain campaign, said the tourist board.

Sandie Dawe, chief executive at VisitBritain said: “Not only have we managed to surpass the £20bn barrier for the very first time, but we’ve broken records for holidaymakers and visitors from key growth markets such as China and South Korea.

“Holiday figures are up across the whole of Britain with robust growth for Scotland, Wales, Rest of England and London.”

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Record for Britain’s inbound pound!

Britain is on course for a record inbound tourism spend in 2013, latest figures show.

Results suggest Britain needs £700 million of tourist spend in December 2013 in order to hit a record £20bn total, a sum never before reached in one calendar year.

According to VisitBritain, this will be “highly likely” as the average December spend has been around £1.3bn over the last five years.

It also looks to have been a record breaker in other aspects of tourism, according to Office of National Statistics figures released this week. So far, Britain has already seen full year records broken when only counting counting the 11 months from January to November 2013. These include spend at £19.3 billion compared to £18.6 billion in 2012. 12.02 million holiday visits compared to 12.01 million in 2011; and 4.86 million rest of World visits versus 4.74 million in 2012.

“For 2013 to be the best year in inbound history, we’d need to see a record December for visits, but it’s a certainty we’ll see record levels for spend,” said Sandie Dawe, VisitBritain chief executive.

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Inbound tourism on the up

The number of visitors to the UK grew by 16% to 3.5 million in August compared to last year. 

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics also show that spending by visitors to the UK hit a record £13.7 billion in the first 8 months of the year, up by around 11% on last year.

“More people than ever from around the world are choosing to holiday in Britain, with record numbers coming from the high spending markets of Latin America, Middle East and Asia Pacific,” said VisitBritain chief executive Sandie Dawe.

Outbound tourism didn’t do too badly either, with the number of Brits deciding to go abroad for their holidays in August rising by 8% compared to last year.

Overall visits abroad in the 12 months to August grew by 2% with spending up by 4%. Holiday visits grew 2% but business visits fell by 1%, and visits to friends or relatives grew by 8%.

 

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The need for accurate short-term weather forecasts

One minute forecasters say it’s going to be wet, the next sunny, then windy. It gets confusing, particularly when some forecasts are referring to longer-term weather patterns. This has lead to a tourism chief calling for the Met Office to concentrate on more short-term accurate forecasts.

Last weekend the UK enjoyed sunshine and high temperatures, with resort managers reporting one of their busiest weekends of the year. However, only weeks ago, weather and climate experts met at the Met Offices in Exeter and said that we could be facing a decade of wet summers.

Director of tourism at Bournemouth council, Mark Smith, told the Sunday Times: “People are totally confused.

“One minute they are told global warming is going to result in hotter summers and the next minute they are told it is going to be soggy.

“We want accurate short-term forecasts.”

Sarah Holland of the Met Office said: “There is a link between warm surface temperatures in the north Atlantic and a higher frequency of wet summers in the UK.

“There is still a lot of research that needs to be done, but we could be in a phase where we see more wet summer.”

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Government urged to relax tourism visas after poor August visitor figures

Last week we reported that that VisitBritain is in consultation over aims to increase inbound UK travel up to 40 million visitors by 2020. Since then, tourism bosses are reported to be urging the Government to relax tourist visas after a 5% drop in UK visitors in August.

Figures for UK travel and tourism during August have just been released by the Office for National Statistics. Visitor spend was up 9% but compared to 2011, arrivals were down by 5%, leaving the total visits for the year to date at the same level as last year.

The Olympic and Paralympic Games were a huge draw, as 590,000 overseas visitors indicated that they had come to attend ticked events, or were participating or working at the Games themselves. Visitors spent an average of £1,290 (total £760 million), which is almost double the usual amount they would normally be expected to spend.

Sandie Dawe, chief executive at VisitBritain said: “The first six months of the year saw a record in terms of both the number of holiday arrivals and the amount of spend, and with August’s figures we are now at the same level as we were in 2011.

“The extraordinary exposure Britain received during the Games has provided us with an ideal platform to remind people around the world why a visit to Britain is a must, and we are working hard to deliver a strong finish to the year.”

 

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VisitBritain consultation over inbound travel

Each year the UK typically welcomes 31 million visitors from across the world. Last year alone, these visitors went on to spend a total of £18 billion. Riding on the success of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, VisitBritain has launched a consultation on inbound tourism with the aim of encouraging 40 million visitors by 2020 – a 3% increment year on year.

The strategy for growth includes working with the travel trade to ensure that Britain is appropriately packaged and sold to potential visitors. It also wants to ensure that visitors will find it easy to travel here by addressing the current aviation capacity and visas.

Reaching 40 million visitors would deliver an extra £8.7 billion in foreign exchange earnings at today’s prices, claims VisitBritain, adding that it would also support over 200,000 additional jobs.

Christopher Rodrigues, chairman of VisitBritain, said: “This summer has shown what the country can do when we are united in a common cause. The test now is whether we can maintain this to create wealth and jobs through a major tourism drive.

“This consultation with the industry, the public agencies and multiple Government departments that care about tourism and impact on its success has been designed to identify shared priorities and potential partnerships.”

The consultation runs until 9th November, responses can be made at britainstrategyconsultation@visitbritain.org

 

 

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