England has had a massive boost in tourism – thanks to Wallace & Gromit.
VisitEngland led the nation in using the dynamic duo in the campaign “Holidays at home are GREAT”. And it worked.
Fifty-five per cent of accommodation businesses and 66 per cent of attractions said visitor numbers were up.
And VisitEngland Chief Executive James Berresford said: “Even ice-cream sales are up. They doubled in the Royal Parks this summer.
“Wallace & Gromit helped encourage people to holiday at home and realise they were getting great value for money.
“Of course, the heatwave gave resorts and attractions a shot in the arm but it is looking good for 2014 too. If people experience what England has to offer, they will go back for more if the quality of the product is right.
“And I believe we have got our products right and we have become a more welcoming nation.”
Mr Berresford revealed the good news at ABTA’s travel convention in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
And he predicted a healthy 2014. Events such as the Tour de France, with cyclists setting off in Yorkshire and passing through Cambridge and Essex, would boost tourism.
“There’s already been a 15 per cent increase in cycling tourism,” he said.
VisitEngland, he added, would also be heavily involved in promoting events during England’s World Cup battle next year.
“From the prices I have seen to go to Brazil, I think people will be staying and watching TV at home.”
Tourism is worth £115 billion to the UK and £97 billion of that is spent in England. London gets 55 per cent of the cake.
Holiday companies, Bourne Leisure – Butlins, Haven and Warner Hotels – Hoseasons, Superbreak and Shearings (they even had Wallace & Gromit on their coaches) all reported increased sales this year and are confident of a good 2014.