The UK could expect a rise in visitors from the United States (US) during Thanksgiving week, with flight bookings showing a rise of 20% compared to the same period in 2017.
Data shows flight bookings from the US to the UK are up 20% from Sunday November 18th to Saturday November 24th for 2018 compared to the week when Thanksgiving fell last year. Thanksgiving Day this year is on Thursday, November 22nd.
The increase echoes a longer-term trend with forward bookings from the US to the UK tracking up 27% from November 2018 to April 2019 compared to the same period previously.
The US is the UK’s most valuable inbound visitor market for tourism spend. Visitors from the US spent a record £3.6 billion (around $4.7 billion USD) across the UK last year, up 9% on the previous year. Visits from the US grew 13% to 3.9 million in 2017, the highest since 2000.
VisitBritain Executive Vice President, Americas, Gavin Landry said:
“There has never been a better time to book a trip to Britain, with our attractions and accommodation offering great value. US visitors can enjoy classic Thanksgiving traditions, from eating a Thanksgiving feast to watching the NFL games, ice skating and holiday light festivals and displays.
“Working with partners including American Airlines, British Airways, Norwegian Air and Virgin Atlantic, we continue to boost route connectivity and seat capacity, making it easier for US visitors to travel and explore further through regional gateways such as Manchester, driving growth from tourism across our nations and regions. The UK is the number one destination in Europe for US travelers, and it is great to see forward bookings looking strong in the coming weeks and months from our most valuable visitor market.”
VisitBritain is also working with content partners in the US including Refinery29, Matador Network, Food52 and Men in Blazers to promote Britain’s food and drink, culture and countryside and Premier League-related visitor experiences, telling the stories of destinations inspiring visitors to discover more, travel further and stay longer.
VisitBritain’s global campaign “I Travel For…” launched earlier this year in the US and is also shining the spotlight on unexpected experiences and less explored destinations across the UK alongside its globally renowned and iconic landmarks and attractions to drive tourism across the nations and regions.
US perceptions of the UK as a visitor destination are strong. The US ranked the UK second overall out of 50 nations for its overall brand in the 2018 Anholt Nation Brands Index, up one place on 2017 and equalling its highest ranking ever. The US also rated the UK highly for its vibrant cities and urban attractions and historic buildings and monuments.
Tourism is worth £127 billion to the UK economy, creating jobs and boosting economic growth across its nations and regions.
Celebrating Thanksgiving Day:
Thanksgiving Meals & Drinks In London
Balthazar’s famous pecan pie returns for another year. Visitors can pick one up from their boulangerie or sit down to the classic Thanksgiving menu with gingerbread fizz, roasted butternut squash soup, and roast turkey with all the trimmings.
Neptune’s Thanksgiving menu includes clam and smoked bacon chowder, turkey with chestnut and sausage stuffing, creamed kale, corn and cheddar biscuits and pumpkin custard tart.
Ace Hotel have teamed up with The POP to host Breaking Bread: A Modern Thanksgiving Event, starting with pumpkin martinis on the 7th floor rooftop, followed by freshly baked cornbread, corn on the cob, roast turkey and pie.
Enjoy complimentary drinks for two hours amidst breathtaking views and a DJ playing until close at London’s highest bar, The View from The Shard. Their “Drinks on us” party nights take place every Thursday and Friday from November 22nd through December 13th, 2018, from 6:00 pm. – 8:00 pm.
Vegetarians can enjoy a plant-based meal at Farmacy’s first ever supper club, including three courses and a cocktail – expect seasonal mezze with chestnut hummus, Farmacy’s classic winter bowl with braised red cabbage, whipped squash and celeriac remoulade, and a twist on the classic American pie.
St Pauls Cathedral, London
Thursday, November 22nd, 2018
The annual Thanksgiving Day service will take place at St Pauls from 11am until 12pm. No tickets are needed to attend the traditional service but visitors are recommended to arrive early as doors close at 10.30am.
Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park, London
November 22nd, 2018 – January 6th, 2019
Winter Wonderland opens for the Christmas season this year on Thanksgiving Day from 4pm. The annual attraction is free-to-enter and features a family-fun activities including ice-skating on the UK’s largest outdoor rink, fairground attractions, Christmas markets and plenty of cozy restaurants to indulge in hot drinks and festive treats.
Illuminate Light Festival, Plymouth
November 22nd – November 25th, 2018
Celebrate Thanksgiving Day at the city’s free-to-enter light festival, held at the historic Royal William Yard. The festival sees visual light projections take place with a theme of linking music to light, and visitors can get involved with their own light projects in a series of interactive workshops taking place during the four days. This year also sees artists experiment with light projections onto the sea.
Christmas at Kew Gardens, Richmond, London
November 22nd, 2018 – January 5th, 2019
Now in its sixth year, Christmas at Kew returns on Thanksgiving Day with a winter trail of twinkling lights to explore. Visitors can also enjoy the sculptural fire garden and a new Laser Garden to watch lights bouncing across the branches. End the evening with warm treats of roasted chestnuts and a hot chocolate under the starry skies.
Ice Skating at the Natural History Museum, London
Through January 20th, 2019
To celebrate Thanksgiving Day with history, visitors can head to the Natural History Museum and skate against the backdrop of the grand attraction either day or night. Although it is recommended to book tickets to guarantee a place, visitors can buy a ticket at the box office, and warm up with a meal and drink at the Café Bar.