Tourism Terrific For Britain

In this week’s digital edition of Travel Courier, managing editor, Michael Baginski reports that the UK is headed for a third successive record year for tourism in 2015, but Canada may not be helping.

Based on provisional stats for 2014, arrivals from this country were expected to drop 11% year on year to a total of 773,000 visitors — that after a 6% jump in 2013. Overall, Canada ranks 14th as a source market for the UK (but No. 10 for spend).

Blame for the 2014 decline is being directed largely at the dip in the Canadian dollar, which is now trading at around $1.90 to the pound compared to $1.50 not so long ago.

“It’s all about the dollar. It’s tanked,” says VisitBritain’s travel trade development executive for Canada, Lynda Falcone.

VisitBritain forecaster David Edwards admits that in the current conditions Canada “has been a challenging market… We’ve been hearing from some of our airline partners say that it’s a bit of a challenge.”

But he adds, “Canada is still a really important market [for us].”

Indeed, according to the most recent Nation Brand Index, 32% of Canadian travellers have visited the UK. Canadians also rank Britain their 5th favourite country with a number of other tourism rankings between five and seven (out of 50).

That is on par with Britain’s overall rankings in the index: No. 3 overall and No. 3 in tourism.

Gordon Burwood of Canadian tour operator DH Tour says he hasn’t actually seen a drop-off in UK business, calling 2014 a good year and seeing “some growth” so far in 2015.

The dollar, he says, is the cause of some “apprehension” but hasn’t “had any bad effect yet!”

For the full story in the March 12, 2015 digital edition of Travel Courier, click here.