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VisitBritain launches tourism growth plan

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UK tourism agency VisitBritain has launched a new plan aimed at driving up the number of people coming to the country over the coming years, with an ambitious target of 40 million tourists by 2020.

This would represent a three per cent year-on-year increase in the number of travellers choosing Britain as their destination, boosting hospitality and leisure firms in the wake of the successful Olympic and Paralympic Games.

According to VisitBritain, achieving this aim would deliver roughly £8.7 billion to the economy at today's prices and support more than 200,000 additional jobs, with businesses purchasing new kitchen equipment and hiring staff in order to cope with increased demand.

Chairman Christopher Rodrigues argued that the success of the last few months shows the potential Britain has as a global tourist destination, praising the "passion, professionalism, drive and energy" evident in the business response to the Games.

"Tourism is the industry that can deliver the economic legacy of the 2012 Games. It is an industry that can deliver jobs quickly - right across Britain and at all skills levels - and much needed economic growth," declared the chairman.

Some £18 billion was spent by visitors to the UK last year, meaning the industry is already in a relatively strong position despite the ongoing issues caused by the global recession.

As well as contributing roughly £115 billion to the country's GDP, tourism employs around nine per cent of the British population.

Four key elements for growth were identified as part of the report - enhancing Britain's global image by highlighting strengths such as heritage and contemporary culture, working with travel markets to reach new consumers, meeting the expectations of new visitors and dealing with issues such as aviation capacity.

Global hospitality operator Accor recently expanded its UK operation, highlighting the important role tourism plays in the British economy.ADNFCR-16001031-ID-801469348-ADNFCR

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