Attractions industry news

28 May 2014

UK tourism draws revealed: Russians relish history and Turks love our beaches

More than half of Chinese visitors to Britain would head to a ‘historic city’ outside of London for a UK-based vacation, while 48 per cent of Egyptian tourists would make a beeline for the coast, according to new data on overseas visitors’ habits.

The research, commissioned by VisitBritain as part of the 2013 Anholt GfK Nations Brand Index Survey, asked approximately 20,000 people from 20 different countries around the world where they would most like to stay on a trip to the UK.

Unsurprisingly, London proved a big draw – having recently been crowned the world’s most popular destination with overseas tourists – however, the research through up some surprising regional preferences.

For instance, both Chinese and Russian respondents chose ‘historic British cities’ (excluding London) as their top destination. Around 52 per cent of Chinese would make this their number one stop, while 45 per cent would head for the traditional English countryside. The rural life was also a big draw for Swedish, Canadian and Australian visitors, while South Africans said the countryside was their favourite UK attraction.

Elsewhere, Egyptians and Turks revealed they like our beaches nearly as much as we Brits love theirs. Around 48 per cent of respondents from Egypt chose ‘coastal areas of Britain’, while 40 per cent of Turks said the same. Britain’s shorelines have been identified as a key driver of tourism growth in the coming years.

And despite the odd anomaly, London still remains a huge draw in Europe, with neighbouring nations including the French, Germans, Italians and Polish choosing the ‘Big Smoke’ as their number one UK destination.

“We have a wealth of destinations and beautiful countryside to attract international visitors, as well as a capital city that is a global star,” said Patricia Yates, director of strategy and communications at VisitBritain.

“Our campaigns highlight the Scottish highlands and Edinburgh, the Welsh Coastal Path and Cardiff, Shakespeare Country and the Lake District to ensure that the economic benefits of tourism are spread across the nations and regions.”

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