Attractions industry news

30 Nov 2017

Harry and Meghan heralded as 'potent mix' for British tourism in 2018

As the global spotlight falls on the soon-to-be married Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Britain’s tourism industry is predicting a boost from the upcoming Royal Wedding.

Historically, weddings for members of the Royal Family have put the eyes of the world on Britain, with the UK economy benefitting as a result.

"The number one reason overseas visitors come to the UK is our history, our heritage and our pageantry – royalty is absolutely key to all of that,” said Bernard Donoghue, director of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA).

"The combination of Prince Harry's global fame, Meghan Markle's global fame as an actress, her being American and Britain being much more affordable than it was two years ago, really makes for a potent mix.”

Data in 2011 from the Office for National Statistics showed the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton significantly helped British tourism.

For 2011, 30.6 million people visited the UK, an increase of 800,000 on the previous year’s figures. In April of that year – the month the wedding took place – visitor numbers year-on-year increased by 350,000.

Adding to these figures, Buckingham Palace visitor numbers grew by almost 50 per cent as more than 600,000 people came through the year to view Kate’s wedding dress.

A recent study by Brand Finance said that the British monarchy would contribute £1.77bn (US$2.34bn, €2bn) to Britain’s economy in 2017, with tourism the biggest winner as millions visit the UK to get a glimpse at the Royal Family and their heritage.

The study found that the value of the monarchy amounts to approximately £67.5bn (US$89.32bn, €76.13bn), with generated gross uplift of £1.77bn, though this figure didn’t take into account the wedding of Harry and Meghan, which is set for May 2018.

“Congratulations to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on their engagement,” said VisitBritain director, Patricia Yates, who called London a “romantic destination”.

“This milestone event undoubtedly puts the global media spotlight on Britain,” she added.

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