UK more welcoming to visitors than ever before
16 December 2015

Visitors' perception of the welcome given by the UK has improved for the fifth year in a row, with more tourists likely to recommend holidays here than ever before.

The proportion of visitors who says they feel "extremely welcome" has doubled between 2009 when it was just 19 per cent, and 2014, which it was 42 per cent, new VisitBritain data shows.

However, the UK is still outside the top ten countries for welcome on the international GFK Anholt Nations Brand Index, coming in at number 11 out of 50, up from 14th in 2008. However, it is in fourth place internationally for tourism, and fifth for culture.

VisitBritain is working to improve the quality of the UK's welcome, which is says is the crucial factor in making visitors most likely to recommend holidaying here.

The VisitBritain data, accrued from airport interviews with departing tourists, gives more detail about the changing perception of the UK. Its report says it is most useful to look at figures for the most and least satisfied visitors: this shows the proportion of those who felt "extremely welcome" rose from 19 per cent in 2009 to 42 per cent in 2014. During the same period, the proportion of those who felt quite welcome or not welcome dropped to 11 percent: previously, it had varied between 15 and 20 per cent. Overall, 89 per cent of visitors felt extremely or very welcome, around five percentage points higher than the range in previous years.

In broad terms, visitors from English-speaking countries were likely to feel more welcome: around half of these tourist felt "extremely welcome". The report suggests this might be down to signage and suggests more use of other languages.

Of those who felt "extremely" or "very" welcome in the UK, 93 per cent would recommend it to others, compared with 56 per cent of those who felt "quite" or "not" welcome.

Scandinavian countries most likely to feel extremely or very welcome in the most recent survey: the top 5 most satisfied nations were Denmark, Canada, Sweden, India and the USA, with 96-93 per cent in these categories. The nations least likely to feel very or extremely welcome were China, France, Russia and Italy - between 82 and 79 per cent of these visitors gave the highest ratings.

The top five nations most likely to recommend the UK were Brazil, USA, Denmark, the Netherlands and Poland: least likely were UAE, Austria, Italy, Canada and Switzerland.


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