Cities take over from beach

Britain’s cities are taking over from the seaside as ‘staycation’ breaks have driven a 12.6% surge in UK tourism revenue since 2007, a new survey claims.

Sunday, 27th January 2013, 7:20 am

According to budget hotel chain Travelodge, stay-at-home Britons on short breaks helped to push tourism revenue to £40 billion between 2007 and 2011, despite a two million drop in the number of overseas visitors during that period.

With seaside destinations in decline, UK city breaks now account for 23% of domestic tourism.

Despite the longest double-dip recession since the Second World War, Travelodge claims tourism remains one of the fastest growing industries in the UK.

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The industry’s job numbers grew by 2,000 between 2007 and 2011, from 2.690 million to 2.692 million, while manufacturing fell by 17%, construction by 15%, finance by 7% and transport and storage by 6%.

The report says strong growth in tourism in 2011 created 120,000 new jobs.

Staycations form the backbone of the tourism economy, with domestic trips and holidays increasing by 5.6% to 126.6 million, and city breaks accounting for almost a quarter (23%) of all domestic breaks.

Liverpool is the stand-out destination. The 2008 European Capital of Culture enjoyed a 23% increase in visitors and a 91% increase in holidaymakers, while most UK cities saw an average visitor increase of 2.6% and London delivered 4%.

The seaside continues to struggle, however.

Bournemouth, Great Yarmouth, Blackpool, Torquay and Newquay experienced a slump in visitors, with an average decline of 5% between the five.

The report also claims the recession has stopped many Britons from going abroad: the number of trips taken by Britons overseas has declined by 12.6 million, from 69.4 million to 56.8 million.

Grant Hearn, Travelodge CEO, says: “Our report shows UK tourism has weathered the recession and outperformed other key sectors.

“As one of Britain’s biggest business sectors, it has a real opportunity to play a significant part in helping our economy to recover.”