Ukinbound has challenged VisitBritain’s suggestion that tourism would increase by more than 60% by 2020. Arguing the prediction was unrealistic and too optimistic, UKinbound Chief Executive Mary Rance said Visitbritain was ignoring current threats. “We do not dispute the real potential for substantial growth in inbound tourism but this potential will pale into insignificance if there are no plans to increase capacity and to address urgently the real barriers to growth,” she explained. “With no plans to increase capacity at Heathrow or any other London airport and in the absence of a strategy to restore the competitiveness of the UK as a destination by addressing the barriers to growth, it is fantasy to suggest that such huge growth is attainable.” Current trends and feedback fly in the face of this optimism showing visitor numbers declining year on year since 2007 when Air Passenger Duty was significantly increased to an actual reduction of 8% in visitor numbers over this period. In more recent times when a weak pound should have seen greater increase in visitors we are still experiencing a 3% decline so far in 2010. This current downward trend in visitor numbers has occurred with the current levels of APD and VAT, both of which are due to rise this year, which will result in a greater reduction in visitors to the UK.