Cities take over from beach

Full of grace: Liverpool's historic seafront and vibrant nightlife are attracting record holidaymakers
Full of grace: Liverpool's historic seafront and vibrant nightlife are attracting record holidaymakers
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Britain’s cities are taking over from the seaside as ‘staycation’ breaks have driven a 12.6% surge in UK tourism revenue since 2007, a new survey claims.

According to budget hotel chain Travelodge, stay-at-home Britons on short breaks helped to push tourism revenue to £40 billion between 2007 and 2011, despite a two million drop in the number of overseas visitors during that period.

With seaside destinations in decline, UK city breaks now account for 23% of domestic tourism.

Despite the longest double-dip recession since the Second World War, Travelodge claims tourism remains one of the fastest growing industries in the UK.

The industry’s job numbers grew by 2,000 between 2007 and 2011, from 2.690 million to 2.692 million, while manufacturing fell by 17%, construction by 15%, finance by 7% and transport and storage by 6%.

The report says strong growth in tourism in 2011 created 120,000 new jobs.

Staycations form the backbone of the tourism economy, with domestic trips and holidays increasing by 5.6% to 126.6 million, and city breaks accounting for almost a quarter (23%) of all domestic breaks.

Liverpool is the stand-out destination. The 2008 European Capital of Culture enjoyed a 23% increase in visitors and a 91% increase in holidaymakers, while most UK cities saw an average visitor increase of 2.6% and London delivered 4%.

The seaside continues to struggle, however.

Bournemouth, Great Yarmouth, Blackpool, Torquay and Newquay experienced a slump in visitors, with an average decline of 5% between the five.

The report also claims the recession has stopped many Britons from going abroad: the number of trips taken by Britons overseas has declined by 12.6 million, from 69.4 million to 56.8 million.

Grant Hearn, Travelodge CEO, says: “Our report shows UK tourism has weathered the recession and outperformed other key sectors.

“As one of Britain’s biggest business sectors, it has a real opportunity to play a significant part in helping our economy to recover.”