There is further evidence that the strength of the US economy combined with the fall in the value of the pound sterling has boosted tourism in the UK, according to CIE Tours International.
At its annual UK Awards, the coach tour operator said sales in 2017 were 10% up on 2016 with 2018 tracking to see a further 10% increase.
The Irish operator reported that Scotland accounted for much of this gain, with England’s growth being slower, which it said could possibly be attributed to security concerns.
This performance reinforces findings by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) which showed that 2017 saw the biggest increase in US tourists coming to the UK since the 1980s with a 25% rise in visitors from North America in the first half of 2017 compared to 2016. In June alone, there were a record 650,000 visits, up 35% on the same month in 2016.
During 2017, CIE Tours took visitors to 100 visitor attractions and 60 hotels across the UK, paying a total of £11m to its UK suppliers, including buying around 150,000 hotel beds.
Elizabeth Crabill, chief executive, CIE Tours International, said: “The growth we are experiencing in the UK is fantastic and the level of customer satisfaction achieved by our suppliers plays a vital role in our success, which is why it is gratifying to recognise excellence in this, our fifth annual UK awards.”
However Crabill warned that it is becoming difficult to find hotels to meet North American demand. “The company has identified high accommodation prices as a threat to competitiveness and future growth, particularly in the key tourism centres of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness.
“When our visitors come to historic cities, they expect to stay close to the central attractions but increasingly, we are encountering difficulty finding hotels in some destinations, which meet our customers high expectations of quality, at a price which is not prohibitive.”