Neither Brexit nor terrorism could dampen the English tourist industry last year, with footfall up at two of Britain’s biggest amusement operations and throughout the coast.
Both Brighton Pier and Yorkshire’s Flamingo Land theme park ranked among the highest visited attractions in the country last year,according to VisitEngland’s annual survey of participating leisure sites.
Brighton’s iconic seaside magnet drew over 4.6m people in 2017 – whilst Flamingo Land sold just shy of 1.7m entry tickets.
Nationally,the numbers place Brighton fourth and Flamingo Land third in the free and paid-entry categories, respectively.
Across the breadth of the attractions sector, businesses reported a two per cent rise in footfall – a measure which has enjoyed the same level of consistent growth since the London Olympics of 2012.
Part and parcel of this has been a steady flow of non-domestic visitation to England.Indeed,such was the case last year, where Brexit uncertainty and a number of terrorist incidents failed to stem the tide of international foot- fall to England’s tourism spots: with foreign visitation growing a healthy four per cent throughout the period.
In the domestic market, the Great BritainTourism Survey tracked a healthy leap in the number of Brits choosing to holiday at home last year – with the number of staycations to English hotels and AirBnB’s swelling six per cent to 47.2m.
VISITENGLAND BY THE NUMBERS: DIGITAL IS THE DIFFERENCE
There’s just so much data compiled by VisitEngland’s annual autopsy of the country’s tourism capacity that, well, you’d need a holday just to trawl through it all. But emerging large and clear from the soup of numbers is how seriously tourist operators are taking their digital outreach efforts these days.
89 per cent of responding sites were actively engaged in some kind of a digital marketing campaign in 2017 – whilst nearly all (93 per cent) offered a website.
When it comes to social media, there’s been real consolidation of platform in the past few years-with attractions shunning other networking sites in favour of Instagram and Pinterest. Indeed, a full 44 per cent of sites had some kind of outreach effort running on one of those image-centric platforms – a figure which has doubled since 2015.
And unsurprisingly, these efforts are apparently bearing fruit. Sites using some kind of digital calling-card were, on average, enjoying a two per cent hike in visitors. Contrasted to their old-school brethren who shunned the internet, and who suffered a three per cent fall in numbers, and the equation is clear. Digital can make the difference.