According to several sources, including figures from MKG Consulting data base, a significant number of domestic and international tourists flocked to London to join Platinum Jubilee’s celebrations. The Queen celebrates 70 years on the throne on 2022, and this beloved character was a real touristic attraction during this special weekend.
To celebrate this unprecedented anniversary, many events and initiatives took place throughout this year, culminating in a four-day UK bank holiday weekend from Thursday 2nd to Sunday 5th June. Indeed, Queen Elisabeth II became the first British Monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee on 6th February this year. This extended weekend allows thousands of British people to travel within their own country, specially to London where all main events were, but also attract thousands of foreign travelers wanting to join the festivities. On the agenda, we can mention the Trooping the Colour, Platinum Party at the Palace, and the Platinum Jubilee Pageant that will bring locals and tourists together.
The weight of domestic tourism
VisitEngland launched a survey, “Platinum Jubilee Weekend Trip Tracker”, to collect data and find out what British people were planning for this special occasion. The striking figure is the number of people who planned a domestic break for Platinum Jubilee weekend. 14% of adults in Britain “definitely” plan to take an overnight trip over the extended Platinum Jubilee weekend at home or abroad, with a further 18% undecided.
Among those who “definitely” or “might” take a trip over the bank holiday weekend, 51% state that this will be for a holiday or short break, while for 47% this will be to visit friends or relatives. 26% plan to go to London for the UK overnight trip, 20% to South West and 14% to South East. About 5.3 million Brits are definitely planning an overnight holiday break in the UK during this time, bringing an estimated £1.2 billion boost to the economy.
Among all respondents, 36% have plans to take part in Jubilee celebrations, 11% plan to attend a street party or “Big Lunch” event and 11% plan to go for a lunch with friends or relatives and 7% plan to attend another local event. These figures show the importance of this anniversary because compared to Diamond Jubilee weekend, the rate of people planning to attend a street party or “Big Lunch” event has increased by 4%. In addition, 23% of respondents were still to decide. Looking at those intending to take an overnight domestic break for the extended Bank Holiday weekend, the top destination type is “city or large town”, including London obviously, followed by “coastal town”.
The upcoming Bank Holiday is a fantastic opportunity for an extra special short-break at home or a day-out, enjoying the once-in-a-lifetime celebrations and show-stopping events for the historic Platinum Jubilee. From afternoon teas and street parties to beacon lighting ceremonies, pageants and parades, people are set to celebrate with friends and neighbours in royal style. […] The long weekend is also set to bring a much-needed boost to the industry and destinations as the summer season gets underway and our outstanding tourism businesses will be very pleased to welcome you back.
Patricia Yates, CEO of VisitEngland
The come back of international travelers
According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) visitors from overseas are pouring into the United Kingdom to join these celebrations. The number of arriving tourists from key overseas markets and leading Commonwealth countries, such as Singapore, Australia and Canada are all up this week compared to last week by 19%, 6% and 2% respectively. While visitors spend had fallen to £3.9 billion in 2021 due to the impact of the pandemic, they are expected to be in line with those recorded before the crisis.
UKinbound, the inbound tourism body, pointed out that the country is expected to welcome 21.2 million international visitors in 2022, who are projected to spend £16.9 billion. These figures are 52% and 59% of 2019 respectively. International bookings and visitors to the United Kingdom between April and June 2022 are expected to be the same or higher than pre-pandemic for one in three businesses, an activity’s revival notably driven by this exceptional weekend.
The four-day break is expected to draw in 2.6 million domestic and international visitors to the center of the capital. Keys show also that arrivals from the United States, Britain’s most valuable inbound tourism market, have soared to 88% of pre-pandemic levels for this week, sharply up from 79% in early May. According to Lana Bennett, chief of inbound operator Tours International, “the Platinum Jubilee has come at exactly the right time for UK tourism”. Indeed, this big event “rejuvenated the industry”.
Forecasters have predicted an 8% increase in retail sales this week, adding about £80 million to the £1 billion of spending usually seen in London in a typical week. On top of that, bars, restaurants, and pubs are expected to take in close to £20 million. However, 55% of businesses predict that revenue during this same period will be lower than pre-pandemic, by an average of 49%. Even if revenues do not reach pre-pandemic level, they nevertheless indicate a permanent recovery of the tourist activity.
This joyous event will provide a vital and welcoming boost to the UK’s tourism industry and businesses up and down the country. Many of my members are preparing to welcome international visitors from across the world, who are making a special visit to the UK during the Jubilee period. […] Promoting Britain abroad and emphasizing the amazing heritage, culture, and experiences available across all four nations, and ensuring we provide visitors with a warm welcome, has never been more important. We need to work hard to convince the international community that the UK is a fantastic place to visit in 2022 and beyond.
Joss Croft, chief executive at UKinbound
An opportunity to put the country back on the tourist map
The pandemic has deeply affected the British tourism economy as VisitBritain underlines it. It has estimated the loss to the economy in domestic tourism spending in Britain, in 2020 and 2021 combined, to be £97.1 billion, and the loss from inbound tourism to the United Kingdom to be £50 billion. The special event that represents the Platinum Jubilee is therefore the perfect occasion to relaunch the tourism activity by putting the destination in the spotlight.
Visit London seized this opportunity with the launch of its biggest ever international tourism campaign in May 2022. The “Let’s Do London” campaign invites people from around the world to choose London as their bucket list destination in 2022 by welcoming them to these celebrations and beyond. In addition, the tourism organization helped visitors to create their perfect “perfect Jubilee itinerary” by picking of the best activities to do during this extended weekend. Visitors could choose between a large selection of activities and events, such as Brigit's Bakery’s Platinum Jubilee Tour, the Tower of London’s Superbloom, Platinum Picnic in the Park, or the Platinum Jubilee Street Party in Chinatown.
The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee is a once in a lifetime moment and will certainly provide a major boost for London’s tourism industry this year. We know that one of the main reasons international visitors come to London is to experience our unique Royal offer. From our historic Royal Palaces and parks to the numerous Jubilee themed exhibitions this year, no city does Royal pomp and ceremony like London. […] We are very excited to launch our Let’s Do London international campaign in the run up to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. There has never been a better time to visit London as our festivals and events return to the city this summer, with lots of special events planned for the Jubilee. From ABBA Voyage and new theatre shows, to the Women’s EUROs and food festivals, there is something for everyone in London this summer.
Laura Citron, CEO of Visit London
Visitors were in attendance, as evidenced by London’s hotels occupancy rates shared by MKG Consulting. These rates rocketed during this extended weekend, reaching almost 80% for the night of June 14th. Days before the Platinum Jubilee display a rate around 60%, testifying to the role that this particular weekend played in the destination's hotel operator performance. Over the three days of the celebrations, occupancy rate was about 75%. This figure confirms the recovery of the tourism sector in United Kingdom in 2022 and suggests that the coming summer season should mark the destination's return to the forefront of the international tourism scene.
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