WARWICKSHIRE is set for a tourist invasion this year – worth up to £15million to the local economy.
With so many world-renowned attractions across the county – including the recently-opened World Rugby Hall of Fame, Warwick Castle and the Royal Shakespeare Company – the tourist sector is a major component of the county economy. Overseas visitors spent more than £100million in Warwickshire in 2015.
And that sum is expected to rise sharply as visitors from around the world, notably the United States of America and Europe, take advantage of sterling’s post-Brexit devaluation.
The full implications of Brexit on the national and local economy are expected to take years to unfold and uncertainty over the future is likely ton see businesses hold fire this year on planning and investment.
But there will be a ‘very positive impact’ on tourism in the short and medium-terms, predicts Warwickshire County Council’s economy and skills group manager Dave Ayton-Hill.
He said: “The significant and sustained devaluation of sterling, particularly against the dollar and euro, will encourage more overseas visitors to come to the UK this year.
“And with so many fantastic attractions in Warwickshire, we can expect to welcome our share.
“In light of the devaluation of sterling against the dollar and euro, we expect an extra £2.5million spend from visitors from the US and £5.3million from Europe.
“Indications from the US are that a lot of people who have long been thinking of a trip-of-a-lifetime to the UK will now take this opportunity while their money will go that much further. That is good news for Warwickshire because, whereas European visitors tend to come over for a weekend or few days, because of the distance involved tourists from US come for two or three weeks so spend that much more.
“When you factor in tourists from other parts of the world, a £10million to 15million uplift in tourist revenue next year is likely, simply on increased spending power. That is good news for Warwickshire’s tourist industry which is traditionally strong and globally renowned.
“The challenge, not just for Warwickshire but for the UK as a whole, is for Britain to be seen as not turning its back on Europe in light of the Brexit vote.
“But that view will be marginal. Warwickshire’s hospitality towards tourists has always been very warm and welcoming and that will continue to be the case.”
With sterling certain to continue to struggle, the UK tourist industry is likely to also benefit from more people holidaying within the country rather than going abroad.