Prime minister David Cameron wants to encourage UK citizens to spend more money holidaying in the UK.
He urged the industry to increase the percentage of holiday money spent by Brits at home from 36% to 50%.
He wants to “up our game” and has asked the minister responsible for tourism John Penrose to compile a report on whether it is possible to encourage UK citizens to spend more of their money at home, rather than abroad.
Speaking in London’s Hyde Park, the prime minister urged people to be more “proud” of the UK and its history and said the country was not doing enough to break into the top five most-visited destinations in the world. The UK is currently sixth.
Cameron said measures to help the industry would include speeding up the process of getting visas for visitors from India and China.
He added: “I want to see us in the top five destinations in the world. But that means being much more competitive internationally.
“Take Chinese tourists, for example. We’re their 22nd most popular destination. But Germany is forecast to break into their top 10. Why can’t we?”
He accused the Labour government of underplaying tourism by appointing eight ministers in 13 years and said tourism should move away from the Cool Britannia label of the 1990s, and focus instead on national parks, seaside towns, heritage sites, such as castles and country houses, museums, galleries, theatres and festivals.
Visit Britain estimates domestic and overseas visitors contribute £115 billion to the UK economy every year and believes foreign visitor spending could increase from £16 billion to £31 billion by 2020.
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