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VisitBritain prospects for 2006
These forecasts are dependent on normal circumstances prevailing and do not factor in unexpected events or crises.
Our research shows that the British believe England is the place to be this Christmas, as staying at home continues to be the new going away. VisitBritain’s Trip Tracker survey shows 4 per cent of British people will be taking a holiday in the UK over the Christmas and New Year period. 73 per cent of respondents said they were going to be spending the festive period at home, while 30 per cent will be visiting friends and relatives in the UK.
For the coming year, Enjoy England’s Great Ideas 2006 and a new branding campaign will continue to inspire and raise awareness of all that the destination offers for British visitors. Our commitment to raising awareness of England’s rich range of quality accommodation will be reflected in new campaigns for City Culture, Taste England and Family Fun, complementing the ongoing Just Relax and Outdoor England initiatives. We will ensure that participants of our Quality schemes get the full benefit of their membership by promoting only assessed establishments in our activities and drive forward initiatives to bring more of the tourism industry online through developing enjoyengland.com and EnglandNet – making it easier for consumers to find and book a domestic holiday.
Enjoy England will continue to work closely with the travel trade in 2006, planning a joined up approach to a programme of marketing activity with all major retailers (Going Places, Thomson, Co-op and Thomas Cook) with monthly activity with each operator. In addition there will be a continued presence at roadshows for agents across England and sponsorship of the Aspire Conference in March 2006.
VisitBritain anticipates that Britain’s visitor economy will grow in the coming years as we aim to reach the target of an industry worth £100 billion by 2010. For 2006, VisitBritain expects to see the number of inbound visitors coming to the UK increase by 4.4% to 30.6 million visits, while modest growth of 4.3% in the real value of their spending should see it reach £14.5 billion. However, the rate of growth will be more moderate than the sharp increases seen during 2004 and early 2005.
The strongest performance in 2006 is expected to come from Asia and from emerging markets in Eastern Europe. The increasing number of direct, low-cost services from Eastern Europe to many regional airports across the UK is already resulting in rapid growth in inbound tourism, although largely in shorter-stay visits. There will be slower growth from the Americas, even though many US airlines are planning to expand their international route networks, moving capacity away from the overcrowded domestic market. We may well see increases in the availability of, and greater price competitiveness for, trans-Atlantic aviation. But it will not necessarily be a year of growth for every sector of inbound tourism and visits for business and to friends and relatives are forecast to expand more strongly than holidays.
FEEDBACK FROM THE TOURISM INDUSTRY
This year travel agents have had the benefit of a new training and selling tool www.bookbritain.net , which has made booking British holidays easier, as a result the domestic market has again been successful for agents, although it was a tough summer for London bookings. Booking the UK is firmly on agents' agenda for 2006.
ABTA members have again concentrated on growing their markets in destinations away from the traditional short-haul holiday hotspots and 2006 will continue to follow this pattern, with tour operators now able to provide some wonderful niche holidays, activity options and long haul destinations. Charter flights to tsunami-hit destinations will be re-introduced this winter and the still favourable dollar exchange-rate continues to drive Brits stateside.
Cruising is again expected to be the fastest growing sector in the industry with the numbers of passengers taking an ocean cruise in 2006 expected to rise 16% to reach 1.25 million. Next year eight new cruise ships will be launched and the emerging trend towards ex-UK port cruising is also expected to increase.
The Association of Exhibition Organisers (AEO) along with the Association of Event Venues (AEV) and the Association of Exhibition Contractors (AEC), continues to grow strongly, collectively reaching 300 members in September.
2006 has been declared, by the AEO, as the “Year of Industry Promotion” and it anticipates that the profile of the Exhibitions and Events industry will be raised considerably in the eyes of business leaders, media buyers and government, following the results of the first-ever Economic Impact Study on the industry. This research conducted by KPMG reveals that over 17 million people visit UK exhibitions each year and that the industry contributes an estimated £9.3billion to the UK economy and supports 137,000 jobs.
Association of British Professional Conference Organisers (ABPCO)
Prospects for 2006 are looking very healthy with increased numbers of enquiries being handled by members of ABPCO, not least in the international association conference sector. Bookings are presently somewhat lower for 2007 but 2008 is also showing strong activity and forward bookings. Clients are demanding greater creativity and demonstrable return on investment from their conference and live event programmes.
British Association of Conference Destinations (BACD)
The 'British Conference Venues Survey 2005') found that two-thirds of venues surveyed expected higher levels of conference business in 2005 than in 2004, and only 9 per cent projected a downturn. In general, the outlook among destination marketers is optimistic and confidence in business for 2006 is quite robust. This confidence is underscored by the continuing levels of investment in the physical conference product as major construction programmes take effect right across the UK, especially among purpose-built convention centres but also in hotel venues and the residential conference/training centre market.
British Hospitality Association
The July bombings in London clearly caused a blip in the capital's figures, but London hotels recovered quickly and UK hotels generally have enjoyed an average 3.5 per cent increase in room rate in 2005 compared with the previous year - even though occupancy has dropped slightly. Barring further terrorist outrages, 2006 should see further improvements.
The decision to hold the Olympic Games in London in 2012 has boosted the capital's profile, which will inevitably gather momentum. The Games will benefit hotels throughout the country, but we still need to promote Britain strongly and worldwide competition is fierce.
Bob Cotton, chief executive of the British Hospitality association said: “We must continue to encourage more domestic short- and long-break holidays, and our overseas marketing is critically important. Do we have the resources to take full advantage of the opportunities presented? This is a tall order, made more difficult by the niggardly government funding for VisitBritain. Its grant-in-aid remaining unchanged for eight years; if we're serious about reaching that £100bn tourism value target by 2010, (which benefits the Treasury so significantly) more investment in tourism promotion is surely needed.”
Coach Tourism Council
The UK coach tourism industry has enjoyed a renaissance in 2005 with increased numbers of visitors taking tours with the 200 coach operators who are members of the Coach Tourism Council.
“There has been a huge multi million pound investment in new ultra modern coaches and members are increasingly basing their tours on 4 star hotel accommodation to meet the needs and aspirations of visitors,” said the CTC’s chief executive Chris Wales. “It also seems that people are at last appreciating that the UK is a fantastic destination for a touring holiday. It’s not just our heritage and culture that attracts people, but the increase in choice offered by coach companies. Themed tours from Bronte to Dickens, historic houses and gardens, concerts and sporting events are more popular than ever and we are confident their popularity will increase in 2006.”
The CTC, which promotes travel and tourism by coach, is in the vanguard of moves to raise the profile of coaching and underline the continuing improvements in service, comfort and choice of tours and holidays by coach.
2006 seems set to be yet another highly competitive year for the travel industry. In the self-catering arena we anticipate continued demand for leading edge products, alongside an increased trend in short breaks.
Hoseasons has always remained committed to responding to and addressing customer needs and expectations. Therefore in 2006 we will:
· Concentrate on offering premium out of season 'last minute' short breaks - specifically targeted towards the 'couple's market'
· Add 66 new locations to our flagship Holiday Lodges & Parks programme; with emphasis on enhancing our range of 5-star designer lodges located in peaceful, 'get-away from it all' surroundings
Until the terrorism bombings of 7 July, tourism to Britain in 2005 was looking to be at least 10% above 2004. The bombings mean that, although tourism revenue in 2005 will be lower than expected, it will still exceed the levels achieved in 2004 by about 5%.
Oxford Economic Forecasting Ltd predicts that inbound tourism for 2006 will be 10% above 2005 due to the suppression of demand caused by the bombings in 2005. If the global economy remains strong and there are no international incidents, it is possible that inbound tourism revenue in 2006 will be significantly above that achieved in 2005. Within this, significant growth will come from some of the emerging markets such as India and eastern Europe where air capacity has increased over 2004. The other main determinant is whether the American market recovers to its historic levels or continues to show static growth.
In the domestic market, growth will be dependent upon consumer confidence and base interest rates. Although consumer confidence dipped during the second half of 2005, there are signs that this has bottomed–out and that confidence will improve in the first half of 2006. If UK residents move from the current “wait and see” attitude to one of optimism about the future, domestic tourism is poised to grow strongly in 2006.
The July 2005 bombings in London ended two years of continuous growth for inbound tourism and, although the damage was not as great as initially feared, recovery has been hampered by the unwarranted increase in visa fees, high oil prices and the sustained weakness of the US Dollar. As a result consumer confidence in the UK as a tourist destination remains fragile in most of our major markets.
In the current economic climate it seems highly probable that oil prices will remain high and the Dollar weak for most, if not all, of 2006. Moreover, there seems little inclination by Government to review the visa tariffs that have a disproportionately adverse effect on emerging and third world markets. Leisure tourism will undoubtedly remain the most price sensitive sector in a highly competitive marketplace and we must expect to see challenging trading conditions over the next 12 months.
We do not, therefore, envisage any significant change in long haul traffic over the next twelve months and only modest growth from short haul markets. Our projections for 2006 show visitors numbers growing slightly to about 28 million and export earning remaining flat at about £13.3 Bn.
2005 has been a mixed year for tourism in London. Although the capital’s visitor economy is still expected to expand this year, given the strong overseas market, the bombings have clearly reduced growth, especially across the already depressed domestic market.
In 2006 we expected to see a continuation of these trends. The overseas market is likely to remain strong, with evidence suggesting London remains as popular as ever with international travellers. In contrast, the domestic market is likely to remain subdued. Although recent surveys have suggested that domestic consumer spending is now beginning to recovery, confidence remains fragile.
Wales Tourist Board
Five surveys of 200-plus randomly selected tourism operators throughout the year have revealed high levels of confidence with operators remaining positive even at the prospect of winter. Many operators set high priorities on investing to maintain and upgrade their product followed by substantial intentions on upping their marketing effort. So all augurs well for performance in 2006.
On April 1, 2006 the Wales Tourist Board becomes part of the Welsh Assembly Government, with Jonathan Jones will be Director of Tourism and Marketing bringing the process of developing policy closer to the industry and giving its voice a better hearing.
· VisitBritain is responsible for promoting Britain as a world class tourist destination and for developing England’s visitor economy. It has offices and representatives in 36 countries around the world and in the last three years, has expanded into China and throughout Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia, and increased its presence in India with new representatives in Bangalore and Mumbai.
· Since its launch in 2003, VisitBritain’s England marketing division has launched major campaigns for Waterside, Taste, Outdoor, Relax and City Culture as well as movie maps to inspire British visitors and is now operating in four near-European markets: France, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands.
· In 2004, there were 27.7 million visitors to Britain, 12% up on 2003. They spent £13 billion in the UK: a 10% increase on 2003. UK residents made 121.3 million overnight trips within England spending nearly £20.6 billion.
· An archive of media releases, information on VisitBritain's marketing activities, around 100 print quality, free-to-download images and more details about the work of VisitBritain in promoting Britain as a destination, can be found on VisitBritain’s new online press centre, www.visitbritain.com/presscentre
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