Submit Press release  eTN Team ·  Advertising  ·  eTN Awards  - Worldtourism Events    

UK Tourism Resilience

Riots leave UK tourism untarnished

Nelson Alcantara, eTN editor-in-chief  Aug 11, 2011

VisitBritain has said Britain has a strong and positive image overseas and we hope these incidents will be short-lived and that inbound tourism will show its customary resilience.

That resilience is showing, as the European Tour Operators Association (ETOA) on Thursday confirmed that the riots have not affected tourism, and that cancellations were “negligible at less than 0.2%.”

Throughout the world, August is a low news month, according to ETOA. “The images of disruption in England have spread around the world causing alarm in many origin markets for Britain. But this has not resulted in any significant drop in immediate visitor numbers.”

London-based ETOA said its members had over 38,000 people staying in hotels in London on Wednesday, August 10. However, they also claimed they had received 330 cancellations for the forthcoming week by lunchtime today (August 11). “On the basis that these people would have stayed two nights, this represents 660 missing bed-nights throughout the week or barely 95 cancellations per night. Notwithstanding a couple of student groups choosing to defer their arrival, a cancellation rate of 0.17% is below the threshold of background cancellation. People cancel for a myriad of reasons; the disturbances have, for now, proved as significant a factor as having a sick dog or flooding the bathroom.”

As to why this is the case. ETOA pointed out two reasons. “Firstly, distressing though the scenes are, the coverage has been of comparatively anonymous locations. No major landmarks and no significant numbers of tourists have been caught up in the trouble. Secondly, such riots occur nearly everywhere. Paris, Madrid, Athens, Los Angeles, Moscow and Bangkok have all experienced rioting and looting.”

ETOA was quick to add that the significance lies in how a country is seen to deal with these riots. “To the fury of many in Britain, the images have been of the Police trying to contain the trouble. They have not violently confronted it. Images of property being damaged is very different from those of people being hurt. So the story of the last few nights, played out on television sets throughout the world, has been of an unarmed police establishing order. The story of the next few nights will be of the due process of law bringing suspects to account. “

Significantly, ETOA also said some of the individual cancellations are now rebooking. “London remains safe for tourists. And tourists understand that London remains safe.”

Meanwhile, Patricia Yates, director of strategy and communications at VisitBritain, said: “London and other parts of England have remained calm overnight and it is very much business as usual, with international visitors enjoying their stay.”

According to her, transport services, including inbound flights to the UK, are all running a good service and hotels and major tourist attractions across London and the rest of Britain remain open and unaffected by the incidents. “International events are continuing to take place, including the Olympic beach volleyball test event which is being held at Horse Guards Parade right in the heart of London.”

She added: “The feedback from our overseas network indicates that although there is concern in some markets, there are no reports of cancellations. We will of course continue to monitor the situation.”

Riots leave UK tourism untarnished
Happy London Tourists (Photo by AttreoStudio.Com)

Premium Partners