UK: Come on tourists, British weather not THAT bad
British government is to use the UK's most changeable feature to promote the country by trying to convince visitors the weather is not as bad as people think, it was claimed.
British government is to use the UK’s most changeable feature to promote the country by trying to convince visitors the weather is not as bad as people think, it was claimed.
Ministers believe foreign visitors do not realise that British weather can be as pleasant as that in Paris and New York.
Announcing the Government’s “Great” advertising campaign in 14 cities, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “We have lower rainfall than Paris. We have to make sure people understand the reality about the weather.
“It is not always as hot as New York but much more pleasant. Come and get a suntan in St James’s Park — you’ll find that it is much more pleasant than a crowded beach on the Med.”
According to VisitBritain, London is drier than Rome, New York, Brisbane and Rio de Janeiro, and has a higher minimum daily temperature than Seattle, Dublin and Toronto.
But the claims in The Times, made as the campaign starts in nine countries today, may not be the most timely given the country is expecting widespread snowfall and freezing ice.
Dave Britton, a Met Office forecaster, said: “If you are not happy with the weather one day, you might be the next.”
Among the “Great” adverts to promote tourism are a Union Jack livery on a New York subway train and 200 taxis in Delhi along with a giant flag projected onto Sugar Loaf mountain in Rio de Janeiro.
Union Station in Toronto will also be covered in posters advertising British culture and heritage.
Mr Hunt added: “Critics will say we’ve gone berserk in terms of austerity. But we say this is the biggest chance we will have to market Britain in our lifetimes. So we are telling the naysayers to get stuffed and are going for it.”
The number of visits made to the UK by overseas residents rose 3 per cent last year to the highest level since 2008.
Boosted by higher visitor numbers from North America, the amount spent by foreign visitors during their trips to the UK in 2011 rose 5 per cent compared with 2010.
But the number of trips UK residents made abroad in 2011 rose only 1 per cent, and the amount they spent during those overseas trips dipped 2 per cent, figures from the Office for National Statistics said.
In total, overseas residents made 30.61 million visits to the UK in 2011. This was the highest annual total since 2008 when the figure was 31.88 million. The 2009 total was 29.89 million and the 2010 figure was 29.80 million.
Last year, 3.57 million visits were by North American residents – a 5 per cent increase on the figure for 2010.
Spending by overseas residents during their UK trips last year rose 5 per cent to £17.76 billion, despite a slight fall in spending in December compared with December 2010.
UK residents made 56.05 million visits overseas in 2011, with trips to Europe rising but visits to North America dipping 3 per cent.
The number of UK visits taken was boosted by a higher December figure of 3.04 million trips – well above the December 2010 total of just under 2.67 million during a month when bad weather resulted in many flight cancellations.
UK residents spent £31.07 billion during their trips overseas last year, 2 per cent down on the 2010 total.