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Tourism: Standards

Volume 472: debated on Monday 3 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport by what means his Department benchmarks the UK’s performance in attracting overseas visitors against other European countries; and if he will publish the results of the latest such benchmarking exercise. (190432)

[holding answer 29 February 2008]: DCMS does not benchmark the level of overseas visitors to the UK against other European countries. In a rapidly changing international travel environment, with new destinations and national markets emerging rapidly, the UK’s share of the world market is a more meaningful measure of performance. The 32.2 million inbound visitors to the UK in 2006 made up 3.6 per cent. of the world total, and their spending at £15.4 billion was 4 per cent. of world turnover. These percentages were up 0.1 per cent. and 0.2 per cent. respectively on 2005.

For purposes of illustration, visits to the UK rose by 28.2 per cent. over 1997 to 2007, according to the Office for National Statistics’ International Passenger Survey, compared to increases in number of arrivals over the same period in France (18.8 per cent.), Italy (20.5 per cent.), and Spain (34.6 per cent.).