Hospitality businesses boosted by sharp rise in UK tourist numbers

Lamont Pridmore - Accountants

Businesses in Britain’s hospitality sector reaped the benefits of record numbers of tourists visiting the UK last year, a new study has revealed.

According to figures featured in Hotel Owner magazine this week, 2017 set an all-new record for tourist numbers, with the total number of inbound visits soaring to 39.2 million – representative of a 4.3 per cent rise on the number of people who visited the UK the previous year.

This influx in tourism resulted in a 13 per cent profitability increase for hospitality sector businesses, the data reveals, with the sector enjoying pre-tax profits of £689 million – up significantly on the £609 million recorded back in 2016.

One of the study’s authors said that hotels and other hospitality sector firms were benefiting from recent falls in the value of sterling spurred on by Brexit uncertainty – with the weak pound encouraging an ever-increasing number of overseas tourists to choose the UK as their next holiday destination.

They added that prominent national events such as the Royal Wedding had also had a knock-on effect on the number of tourists keen to visit England.

However, commentators have raised concerns that despite the somewhat rosy outlook, hospitality sector businesses are still grappling with a number of difficult issues – such as recent changes to business rates and the National Minimum Wage (NMW).

With this in mind, firms are likely to require specialist advice to help them overcome these challenges in the months ahead.