The value of ‘football tourism’ to the UK’s visitor economy could be in for a boost following Leicester City’s historic Premier League win, with Britain in the global spotlight as the ‘home of football’, according to Visit Britain.
Football is the number one sporting draw for international tourists to Britain and VisitBritain Director Patricia Yates said that Leicester could expect a visitor boost with the city now on the global football tourism map.
“Leicester City’s fantastic win is truly the stuff of legends and has thrust the players, the fans, the city and Britain as the ‘home of football’ into the global spotlight.
“Football has mass international appeal and a global fan base of billions and we know that people like to visit the home of their sporting heroes. We encourage visitors from all over the world to travel to Britain and enjoy a Barclays Premier League football match with our Football is GREAT campaign, as part of our drive to get tourists out exploring more of regional Britain.”
And Leicester City’s win could also be a boost for football tourism in some of the international players’ home countries with the world-famous team boasting players from Denmark, Germany, France and Japan among others.
VisitBritain’s 2015 report – ‘Football tourism scores for Britain’ – highlighted the valuable role of the Premier League as a global draw for visitors to Britain and its importance in attracting visitors outside the peak summer season.
It showed that, in 2014, 800,000 international visitors went to a football match during their trip, almost one in every 43 visitors, and 7% up from 2010. Visitors who attended a football match as part of their trip spent £684 million, an average of £855, compared to £628 for visitors who did not attend a match.
Overall, Leicester received 155,000 international visits in 2014 with numbers showing steady increases, with130,000 visits in 2012 and 145,000 in 2013. Visits to the East Midlands region were up 15% to 881,000 in the first nine months of 2015.
Last year set a record for overall inbound tourism to Britain with 35.8 million visits, 4% up on 2014. Comparing growth over the last five years shows that there were six million more visits in 2015 than 2010, an increase of 20%.
Inbound tourism is worth more than £26 billion to the UK economy.