April 26, 2017 / 11:08 PM / 4 months ago

UK tourism set for boost from weak pound and 'staycationers' - survey

Tourists stand in the rain outside Buckingham Palace in London, Britain August 31, 2015.Kevin Coombs

LONDON (Reuters) - The British hotel and leisure industry is set for a bumper year as a weak pound boosts demand from foreign tourists and deters Britons from travelling abroad, a survey by Barclays showed on Thursday.

Nearly two-thirds of international holidaymakers surveyed by the bank said they were more interested in holidaying in the UK compared with this time last year. The top driver of this was the weaker pound, cited by 31 percent, while greater spending power was cited by 30 percent.

"2017 looks set to be a strong year for the British hospitality sector with both domestic and international visitors increasingly intent on spending more time here," Mike Saul, head of hospitality and leisure at Barclays, said.

"The impact of a weak sterling, at least temporarily, has boosted the UK's international appeal."

The weaker pound means that Britons conversely get less bang for their buck abroad, and rising inflation is also fuelling demand from domestic holidaymakers.

Nearly a third of UK holidaymakers expected to spend more of their holiday time in Britain this year, and 38 percent of those who cited cost as a factor said that the weaker pound had made holidays in the UK preferable to going abroad.

The pound is down around 15 percent since Britain voted to leave the European Union. Out of international holidaymakers, 31 percent said they were more likely to visit Britain than before the referendum last June, although about a half of those asked said the vote had no impact on their likelihood of making a trip.

The Barclays report surveyed almost 10,000 guests from the UK, continental Europe, the US, Middle East, Asia and Australia.

Reporting by Alistair Smout

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