More visitors head to Oxfordshire as UK enjoys a record tourism year

Broughton Castle is one of many popular tourist destinations in Oxfordshire. PNL-150705-112358001
Broughton Castle is one of many popular tourist destinations in Oxfordshire. PNL-150705-112358001

International tourists spent an incredible £380 million while visiting our beloved Oxfordshire last year, up 13 cent from 2013.

In new analysis revealed today (Friday), Tourism Minister Tracey Crouch has welcomed the latest figures and pledged to work closely with the industry to help further strengthen tourism across the country.

She said: “Oxfordshire offers a great and varied mix of sights and experiences. It’s fantastic that so many tourists visited the country in 2014.

“Competition for global travellers has never been higher, which is why we must not be complacent and continue to invest and support the UK’s tourism offer. I look forward to working closely with the tourism sector to champion the best of Britain as part of our long-term economic plan and see places like Oxfordshire continue to enjoy a growing tourism industry.”

The news comes as Prime Minister David Cameron announced the Government’s new five-point plan to boost tourism in every region of the UK - spreading the benefits of one of the country’s faster growing sectors beyond the capital.

A new inter-ministerial group will be formed to co-ordinate and align action across Government to ensure the right infrastructure is in place to make it easy for visitors to discover the best of what this country has to offer.

Headed by the Culture Secretary John Whittingdale, and including ministers from across government including the Department of Communities and Local Government, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Home Office, it will focus on five areas.

They include a better co-ordinated sector, skills and jobs, common sense regulation, transport and an improved welcome.

Mr Cameron said: “Millions of overseas tourists visit the UK every year and most take in the sights of London. But Britain has so much more to offer, from the Cornish Riviera to the Scottish Highlands and everything in between.

“For many areas tourism is the key industry bringing jobs, growth and security for working people. Tourism supports almost one in ten jobs in the UK and we want to rebalance the economy to make sure this boost is felt right across the country.”

The British Hospitality Association (BHA) has also been lobbying for these changes and presented the evidence to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee that made the business case for action.

They represent more than 40,000 establishments including hotels, attractions, restaurants and serviced apartments including the small businesses that really hope to benefit from government intervention to unleash the potential of tourism in UK regions and local communities.

Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of The British Hospitality Association, said: “This is truly a watershed moment for the hospitality and tourism industry and is a result of concerted campaigning by the BHA and its members to Parliament and Whitehall to make their voices heard loud and clear on how we can make the UK a better place to live, work and visit.

“We congratulate the Prime Minister for making this bold move and John Whittingdale and Tracey Crouch for listening to the evidence we presented during last year’s Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee tourism inquiry that made the economic, diplomatic and social case for prioritising the potential of our industry.

“Joined up government leadership will enable our vision for the UK to become the world’s hospitality and tourism powerhouse attracting more visitors, creating more jobs and strengthening local economies to the benefit of all society.”