Tourism is on the up across the UK, and Worcestershire is no exception.
Nearly 40 million overseas visitors are expected to have visited the UK during 2017 with 50% of those planning to explore beyond London. Forecasts suggest that overseas trips to the UK will increase 6% to 39.7 million with spending up 14% to £25.7 billion.
Record numbers of people are choosing to take their holidays in Britain; British Tourist Authority Chairman, Steve Ridgway, stated that tourism now contributes £127 billion to the British economy every year.
The most recent statistics show that over 16 million tourist trips are being made to Worcestershire every year, contributing over £850 million to the county's economy and creating over 17,000 jobs.
Cllr Ken Pollock, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Economy and Infrastructure, said: "It's fantastic news that tourism to Worcestershire is booming. We're a world class county and the more people who have the opportunity to enjoy our beautiful rolling countryside and picturesque towns, the better. Feedback suggests visitors to Worcestershire have a great time, which is very pleasing.
"Greater tourism also brings huge benefits to Worcestershire's burgeoning economy, contributing millions and creating thousands of jobs. We hope that tourism to the county continues to grow and that we see many more visitors in years to come."
Gary Woodman, Chief Executive, Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) said: “Tourism is a key sector in Worcestershire. We have a rich variety of cultural assets and events to attract new and repeat visitors to the county. A number of local partners promote the county and raise the profile we are developing new heritage storytelling trails and strong food experiences."
Surveys co-ordinated by Visit Worcestershire and Worcestershire LEP show that the majority of visitors (71%) come to the county on a day trip, with only 2% of all visitors coming from overseas.
Eight out of ten respondents (83%) were repeat visitors, suggesting that the county is an unforgettable destination that visitors simply love to return to. With only 17% of visitors coming to Worcestershire for the first time, this is something that can be improved by word of mouth and raising the profile of the county.
Those surveyed were asked what they liked most about Worcestershire, and the top answers were:
- Countryside: 22%
- Shopping: 17%
- History and historical sites: 13%
- Rivers/Canals/Waterways: 13%
Martyn Hammond, Director of Marketing and Commercial Services, Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, commented: “With the ever-changing landscape of tourism, including the continued strength of American companies such as Bookings.com and AirBnB, we have to continue to be innovative in how Visit Worcestershire encourages visitors.
“Funding to support promotional activities can be difficult to access if a cash match is required. We continue to maintain a close relationship with VisitEngland by hosting press visits, securing key speakers for local events and working together with other complimentary destinations to access national funding opportunities.”
Visit Worcestershire is touring the county this weekend with representatives from New York at Kuoni and leading campaigns to promote Worcestershire to the US visitor market.
They have also been meeting regularly with Inbound Tour Operators - companies based in the UK that put visitor packages together and lead the organising and delivery of holidays in the UK for visitors from all over the world, including Japan, Europe and US. For the first time, these packages will be sold in American brochures.
Visit Worcestershire will also be representing the county for the first time at World Travel Market in London in November, which will see 50,000 visitors over three days.