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Britain braced for BRIC tourist invasion

Edmund Conway  Jan 12, 2010

Britain should be braced for a massive leap in the number of tourists arriving from the BRIC nations as rich individuals from these fast-growing countries start to spend their cash on overseas travel.

Chinese tourists to the UK are set to treble over the next decade, according to research from VisitBritain, the agency responsible for encouraging UK-bound tourism. Along with Brazil, Russia and India, China is one of the so-called BRIC nations.

The number of bookings of tourists from Brazil has risen by 10pc in the past year, the agency has also found. The news is the latest evidence both of how Britain will become increasingly reliant on the influx of cash from faster-growing emerging nations and of the effect the devaluation of sterling is having in attracting more visitors from overseas.

The number of tourists from China to the UK will rise from around 120,000 this year to some 380,000 in 2020. Meanwhile, the numbers from Russia, Brazil and India will also more than double.

A report from the agency said: "If current projections prove accurate a few decades from now the BRIC countries will be dominating the global economic stage, and with economic power will come greater influence in the arena of geopolitics. Equally the share of global tourism that is to, from and within the BRIC countries will grow over the years ahead, but just as is the case for today's 'developed' tourism source markets the majority of outbound trips will be intra-regional not inter-regional.

"Nevertheless, the long-haul outbound market will grow too, so it is crucial that the UK positions itself ready to capture a growing market share of travel from these countries as millions of people enjoy income levels that permit regular international travel for the first time."

Britain's tourism industry is one of the economy's more unsung sectors, but contributes almost 4pc of the country's entire gross domestic product.

Britain braced for BRIC tourist invasion
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