Big events are a sure-fire way to get everyone talking. From the World Cup to a royal wedding, these events can see a huge boost in tourism for the host countries. Visitors will travel from miles around for the event on the day, and more can follow in the aftermath of the event too.
But just how valuable are big events for tourism? With the Waterfront Hotel, who offer tired tourists a place to relax with their spas in Bedfordshire, we investigate the impact of major events for tourism.
2012: The Olympic Games in London
Back in 2012, the UK rejoiced as London hosted the Olympic games. Better yet, Team GB had one of its most successful performances ever, with 65 medals earned and 29 of those being gold.
In terms of tourists, the Games saw 590,000 visitors arrive. While concerns were raised that general tourists would avoid the capital during the games because of how busy London would be, the average spend of Olympic tourists was significantly higher than other visitors. For example, while general visitors to the city spent £650 on average, those who were here to see the games unfold spent £1,290 — almost double. From these figures then, it’s clear to see that, as the lure of the Olympics drew visitors to Britain, it also increased their spending power.
Plus, Olympic tourists explored London in the run up to the games, with Piccadilly, Shaftesbury Avenue, Haymarket, and St. James’ all seeing an 11% increase in footfall in the week leading up to the games. Pressure was on public transport, as the London Underground carried 4.4 million passengers on a single Friday during the games — more than any other day in its history.
The government released figures in 2013 to show that the Olympic Games had brought in at least £28 billion for the economy, and £600 million added to the visitor economy as the games went on. The positive perception of London, and indeed the UK, as a result of the games’ exposure is has reportedly led to continued strong tourism in the years following.
2014: The World Cup in Brazil
1.7 million tourists visited Brazil during the World Cup in 2014. Despite only taking place between June and July, these visitors actually made up 27% of the total foreign visitors to the country in 2014 as a whole. Compared to the same period in 2013, visitor numbers were up by 96%.
The tourists brought with them around $1.578 billion for Brazil’s economy too!
It was predicted that Brazil would see 600,000 visitors during the tournament, a prediction that was beaten by a fair amount! In fact, Brazil’s visitor count beat the previous host South Africa’s 310,000 visitors in 2010. The country did, however, fall behind Germany’s two million visitors in 2006.
Also, 95% of the visitors who had come over just to see the football said they would be happy to return for a visit again.
2018: The Royal Wedding
Everyone loves a wedding, and even more so when it’s a royal one. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s ceremony was no exception. While 11 million Brits watched the ceremony unfold live, an estimated 150,000 people lined the streets of Windsor to catch a glimpse of the newlyweds and join in the celebrations.
Many of these visitors were from abroad. On Friday 18th May — just 24 hours before the wedding took place — Heathrow Airport reported over 125,000 passengers would arrive, up 15% on the Friday before. What’s more, Eurostar travel was up 54% for journeys between Brussels to London against the same period in 2017.
Some reports showed that hotel demand escalated so much in Windsor that a select few hotels were charging anywhere up to £10,000 per stay! Of course, these premium hotels were in a prime location to catch a glimpse of the couple.
Although the event itself was but a day, Windsor is preparing to enjoy the effets of tourism for a while to come. Around two billion people across the world watched the wedding and it’s expected that many who have been wowed by historic Windsor will take a trip to the UK.
VisitBritain says the number of Overseas tourists coming to Britain will increase by 4%, and they will spend around £26.9 billion. This is an increase of 7% on 2017’s data. The number of visitors from America is on the up too, potentially a result of newlywed Meghan’s US heritage. There will be a predicted 15% rise in US visitors to Britain this year, adding £3.4 billion to the country.
Windsor’s royalty have long fascinated tourists, and the Royal Wedding has caused a surge in interest across the world.
2018: The World Cup in Russia
The World Cup 2018 is currently underway in Russia, so what were the predictions for the visitor count? Head of the Russian Federal Agency for Tourism, Oleg Safonov, believed that 1.5 million visitors will join them for the tournament, while it’s also predicted that the event will have a long-lasting, positive impact on Russian tourism.
Judging from the past World Cups, there’s every chance that Russia will enjoy the benefits of tourism long after the World Cup is over. Only time will tell just how significant this success will be.
These are just a handful of the world’s most notable events, and the impact of these events on tourism both at the time and in the future is clear. The events catapult the host country into the consciousness of potential tourists and, once the dust settles and the events are over, it’s down to the countries themselves to maintain this momentum and continue to attract visitors from across the world.