Tourists spend Billions on the Coast


Nearly four million seaside loving foreign tourists spent £2 billion on trips that included going to Britain’s coastline in 2009, according to a new report from VisitBritain, marking British Tourism Week.

This new research comes as we prepare to launch the week with ‘Party on the Pier’ – a series of parties across many of Britain’s 55 much loved piers and jetties on Saturday March 12th.

13 per cent of the 30 million overseas travellers who came to the UK in 2009 went to a coastal town or city (3.9 million)- ranging from Inverness in Scotland to Brighton on the south coast.

Scotland dominates the top three for coastal visitor numbers- Edinburgh attracted 768,000 foreign visitors. Glasgow 312,000 and Inverness 180,000.

Top English destinations were Liverpool, whose coastal attractions include the redeveloped Albert Dock and canal attracted 162,000. Brighton and Hove, which includes three piers and eight miles of coastline, had 128,000 foreign visitors and sits fifth in the table. Bristol attracted 119,000 and Cardiff’s dramatic coastline, which features the nearby golden coast of Glamorgan, welcomed 110,000.

Germans were the most prolific coastal visitors – making over half a million visits from Germany with well over 400,000 visits from French and American visitors. Interestingly Chinese and Russian visitors are much more likely to visit the coast (one in four visitors) than visitors from France and India (one in eight). The American market is the most important for the Scottish destinations of Edinburgh and St Andrews, with, on average, 146,000 and 24,000 staying holiday visits a year respectively. Along the North West coast of England both Liverpool and Blackpool have more staying holiday visits from Ireland than from any other market, while Cardiff attracts higher numbers of holidaymakers from France than any other market.

Despite bordering the North Sea rather than the Irish Sea, Newcastle’s biggest inbound holiday market is from Ireland.

For Bristol and all three of the southern seaside destinations included in the table we find that Germans are making a dash for a holiday on the beach in greater numbers than any other market, ranging from 36,000 visits a year to Brighton and Hove through to 10,000 visits to Cornwall’s premier surfing hotspot of Newquay.

The reports also confirms that the most popular time of year to visit the coast is during the summer months, with July to September accounting for 1.8 million of the annual 3.9 million visits. January to March is the least popular time for overseas visitors to head for the seaside with fewer than half a million visits.

Patricia Yates, Co-Chair of British Tourism Week said: “This new report shows how our coastal towns and seaside locations are an important part of our appeal to overseas visitors. “As we open British Tourism Week with parties on piers across the country this research reminds us all that visiting one of our great piers at a seaside town offers visitors a quintessential coastal experience which is unique to Britain.”

Visit for more information on the week of events being organised around the country.

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