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NEW ‘CITIES’ RESEARCH RELEASED REVEALS UK WIDE INTEREST FOR INTERNATIONAL TOURISTS

  • 03 May 2012

Britain’s largest industrial cities have firmly positioned themselves as the UK’s most popular tourist destinations for international visitors in the latest full year 2011 survey(1). As the bank holiday approaches these industrial cities will look to capitalise on the renewed interest they now have on the global stage.

While London and Edinburgh continue to maintain their traditional supremacy as the two most popular urban destinations in the UK, Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool and now Bristol are emerging as rival attractions. The rise of the cities is highlighted in the most recent analysis of overnight stays by overseas visitors in UK cities in 2011 by VisitBritain, the national tourism agency.

When researchers looked at all types of visits, London retains its top spot with 15.2 million overseas visitors staying in the city in 2011, followed in second place by Edinburgh with 1.3 million.

But Manchester, with its two competing global football teams, its ultra-modern new landmark buildings such as the Lowry Centre, a new state of the art BBC media centre (open to tourists) and world-class shopping is firmly in third place with 936,000 visits (up 15 per cent on 2010). Birmingham sits neatly into fourth spot with 732,000 visitors attracted by its outstanding arts, exhibitions and one of the largest shopping centres in the UK, the Bullring, host to the best designer labels as well as accommodating for 25 restaurants to cater for all tastes.

Liverpool, who have also seen a 15 per cent rise in foreign visitors, overtake Glasgow moving into fifth place. Liverpool, the World Capital of Pop, is famous for its musical heritage, culture and architecture and attracted a substantial 545,000 foreigners.Oxford, in seventh place, welcomed a record amount of visitors in 2011, seeing 12 per cent more foreigners enjoy the delights of the old colleges (462,000). As any resident will advise the best way to discover Oxford is on foot, and the official guided walking tour of the city and university help visitors understand the story behind Oxford’s great history.

Outside the top 10, cities such as Leeds, Cardiff, Aberdeen, Windsor, Carlisle, Stratford-upon-Avon, Newquay, Harrogate and Cheltenham saw international visits higher than in 2010.

Patricia Yates, Strategy and Communications Director for VisitBritain said: “These results confirm international visitors who might come here because of the global appeal of London are starting to appreciate our vibrant cities outside the capital, and the very different offerings of Edinburgh Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester.

“In such a key year to showcase Britain, and all that our visitors can experience here, VisitBritain’s GREAT image and tactical campaigns in key inbound markets ensures that tourism growth, economic benefits and jobs are delivered right across Britain."

Notes to Editors:

Notes to Editors

1) Provisional 2011 data for overseas visits to UK nations, regions, counties and towns from the Office for National Statistics International Passenger Survey

2011 provisional

Rank

Town/City

Visits (000s)

1

London

15216

2

Edinburgh

1340

3

Manchester

936

4

Birmingham

732

5

Liverpool

545

6

Glasgow

474

7

Oxford

462

8

Bristol

429

9

Cambridge

386

10

Brighton / Hove

303

11

Leeds

299

12

Cardiff

291

13

Aberdeen

249

14

Nottingham

243

15

Newcastle-upon-Tyne

239

16

Bath

231

17

York

221

18

Inverness

214

19

Windsor

210

20

Kent

191

TOTAL- 30.6 million international visits

2011 breakdown-

London

· Visits to London were up 3% above 2010 levels at 15.2 million overall.

· Record levels of holiday visitors continue, above the 7 million mark since 2009 (7.58 million in 2011)

England excluding London

· 44% of visits to the UK included a night in England outside of London

· Overall visits increased by 3% to just under 13 million (12.964 million) – the highest since 2008.

· Holiday visits increased 4% to a record high of 3.6 million whilst business visits increased by 3% compared to 2010

· Visits to the North West (up 10%), North East (up 5%) and Yorkshire and Humberside (up 7%) all grew.

· Visits to the East Midlands (up 8%) and West Midlands (up 6%) grew. Shropshire saw record levels of visits whilst Hereford & Worcester, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire all saw visit numbers up by at least 10% since 2010.

· Overall visits to the South East (excluding London) slightly increased by 2% with the Isle of Wight notably seeing an increase of 14% to a record 62,000 visits

Scotland

· A record amount spent by overseas visitors - £1.49 billion, 2% more than in 2010. Overall visit numbers were at the same level seen in 2010 (2.3 million).

· Grampian saw record levels of visitors (up 27% on 2010), driven by increases for Aberdeen. Perthshire, Lothian, and Argyle also saw increases compared to 2010 but remained below levels seen in previous years.

Wales

· At 0.88 million overall visit numbers are almost the same as in 2010

· 3% of visits to the UK included a night in Wales as in 2010

· Holiday visits grew by around 8% compared to 2010 to 0.37 million. Business and VFR visits were almost at the same level as 2010 whilst visits for Study and other miscellaneous reasons fell.

· North Wales saw an increase of 4%, notably in Flintshire and Gwynedd North. South East Wales saw an increase of 6% on 2010, notably in Bridgend, Cardiff, Newport, Torfaen and Vale of Glamorgan.

· Visits to Mid Wales, and South West Wales both continue to see fewer overseas visitors as in recent years

Northern Ireland

· A slight dip in visits (-5%) from 2010 resulting in 0.34 million visits overall

· 1% of visits to the UK included a night in in Northern Ireland as in 2010

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