The UK’s tourism industry is back on the up following a long summer of pleasant weather. The dry days even extended into the autumn months, resulting in increased visitor numbers across the country.
Recent research by Visit England revealed that tourist businesses felt 2014 had been better overall than 2013, making it a good time for small businesses to invest. But what are the best locations to be in?
In and out of fashion
In 2013, coastal towns traditionally synonymous with the UK tourist industry lucked out economically, with seaside resorts such as Blackpool, Torbay in Devon and Rhyl in north Wales suffering higher numbers of insolvencies than elsewhere in the country.
Instead it was the major towns and cities, such as London, Manchester, Bristol and Oxford, which drew in the tourist crowds, fuelling trade for businesses in those areas.
However, it appears the tide is turning with more visitors returning to the traditional bucket-and-spade resorts in 2014.
But it’s not all about geographic location. The type of tourism you target is also key to your business success.
A decent mattress and a power shower are no longer the only staples people require when looking to book a break. Sustainability is fast becoming a top requirement for holidaymakers and businesses alike.
That’s good news for UK tourism as more Brits look closer to home for their holidays in order to keep their carbon footprint to a minimum. While UK businesses aiming to meet corporate responsibility goals are more likely to pick eco-friendly locations for conferences and team bonding events.
Organisations such as Green Tourism, which has its own independent grading system, help promote UK tourism businesses that operate sustainably. And Visit England explains that an independent verification scheme can help businesses to access a growing green tourism market .
Outdoors and active
A combination of the rediscovered vogue for cycling and a new love of the outdoors means that nature exploration and active holidays are gaining popularity. Visit England states that 25% of Brits want to go cycling on holiday. While wild swimming, forest walking and survival camps are marked as growing trends by big names from Bear Grylls to English Heritage.
Apps are much more than something to keep your digits busy when you’re stuck on the daily commute. These days there are a host of travel apps for those wanting to explore the UK.
And smart businesses can look at the popular ones to find out what potential clients want – or to see how customers really view their business.
Journey Pro and TripAdvisor Offline Guides, for example, help people plan their journeys to and from their chosen spot or provide a guided tour of that location when they get there. While apps like Wifi Finder help travellers find the best hotels for Wi-fi.
Although UK tourism may be on the up right now, as we have seen in previous years, the industry can fluctuate, so make sure you have the right level of commercial insurance .