The recent announcement that Prince William and Kate Middleton are to marry, has set the UK Tourism market alight. Tourist chiefs are extremely excited about the amount of business that the Royal wedding will generate, as people travel from all over the world to London, to witness the event first hand.
On the other side of the coin, agents selling overseas holidays are predicting a down turn in business as people wait to plan their holidays around the Royal event. One leading book maker has slashed odds to 3/1 for Saturday August 13th but travel agents and tour operators are hoping it will be earlier, perhaps in the spring, to lessen the impact on peak season sales.
A spokesperson for the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) said “It’s fair to say, as we see with major sporting events like the World Cup, it may well cause people to delay booking overseas holidays until after the wedding takes place.”
They also added “This is the best possible showcase for the UK as a travel destination and will present great business opportunities for inbound and domestic tour operators and for ABTA travel agents wanting to sell packages to London.”
The wedding of Charles and Diana in July 1981 drew crowds of 600,000 to the streets of London and with an estimated television audience of over 750 million worldwide, UK tourism chiefs know this is big business.
Visit Britain recently surveyed 25,000 people worldwide about their thoughts on the appeal of UK tourist sites connected with the British Monarchy, and a staggering 83% of Russian travellers confirmed they would be keen to visit Royal properties whilst in the UK. 79% of Brazilians questioned, and 75% of
travellers from the Czech Republic were also keen to see them whilst 71% of Chinese and Indian visitors expressed an interest. American tourists, who are known for their love of the British royal family did not score this area as highly, this was however due to the fact that they had already visited most of them before.
Chief executive of VisitEngland, James Berresford stated “I’m absolutely thrilled for William and Kate, and thrilled for tourism aswell.” It is estimated that the UK tourist industry makes approximately £500 million in revenue every year from events, places and history associated with the Royal family, and in a wedding year this amount is expected to be greatly exceeded.
London is also gearing up ready for the 2012 Olympic Games, so there are already more hotel beds available than usual in the City.
The Queen’s Golden Jubilee will also take place during 2012 making the next 2 years look extremely lucrative for the UK tourist industry.