Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 01/01/2013 -- The UK Tourism Report examines the long-term potential offered by the country's tourism industry, but also highlights that the weakness of the euro may put downward pressure on inbound arrivals from Europe, which is the UK's main source market. A great number of visitors travelled to the UK to attend or take part in the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics in London. While tourism in 2012 will increase due to the amount of people from around the world who attended the games - BMI forecasts 30.60mn tourist arrivals in 2012 - arrivals are also forecast to increase following the events. The 'legacy effect' of the games, thanks to the media exposure and publicity associated with the Olympics (for example, almost 27bn people watched the opening ceremonies) can last for up to a decade following the event. According to research by the national tourism agency VisitBritain, VisitLondon and Oxford Economics, in the postgames period in 2013-2017, a legacy effect of GBP1.27bn is forecast for the UK and of GBP0.88bn for London.
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UK transport group Stobart has expanded Southend Airport, which is a 50-minute train ride from London, into another feeder for the capital. The group is hoping to capitalise on the increase in air traffic associated with the Olympic Games. Stobart has completed the construction of a new railway station, control tower and runway extension, while the airport hotel construction was completed in June. Stobart forecasts Air Arann to carry 300,000 passengers a year to Southend. In April, easyJet began flights from the airport.
After dropping in 2009 and 2010 to US$61.13bn and US$60.47bn respectively, international tourist expenditure started to climb back up in 2011, reaching US$69.50bn by the end of the year. BMI calculates expenditure by tourists in the UK to continue to increase, from US$70.95bn in 2012 to US$113.01bn by 2017. Also forecast to increase is tourism expenditure's contribution to the UK's GDP. In 2010 and 2011, tourism expenditure accounted for 2.68% and 2.82% of GDP. It was 2.92% in 2012 but is forecast to increase to 3.31% by 2017.
Europe is the UK's main regional source market for inbound tourism. The region is projected to account for 21.60mn tourists in 2012. This is predicted to increase to 23.23mn by 2016. In second and third place are the Asia Pacific region and North America. In 2012, 732,000 tourists are expected to visit the UK from North America, while 2.69mn will come from Asia Pacific. By 2017, 2.95mn visitors from Asia Pacific are forecast to arrive, while North American arrivals are forecast to hit 759,000.
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