There are two significant world events ongoing right now that could seriously boost local tourism. Not just here in Blackpool but across the country. The first is Brexit and the second is Trump’s travel ban. While neither are aimed at British tourists, we are affected. Will these events help visitor numbers this year? I think so.
The last couple of years have been good for tourism in Blackpool. Here at the North Ocean Hotel, we have seen high occupancy right across the year. We were full to the rafters all summer long in 2015 and over Christmas too. I think that will increase through 2017.
Brexit and tourism
At face value, Brexit itself has nothing to do with tourism. It isn’t aimed at deterring visitors to Britain and should not impact tourism all that much. Yet the devaluation of the pound means what was once among the most expensive currencies in the world is now much better value.
You now get many more pounds for your dollar, Euro, or whatever which means visiting Britain isn’t anywhere near as expensive as it once was. While manufacturing are already reaping the rewards of cheaper exports, I think the tourism industry might also reap some too.
Trump and that travel ban
Throughout the whole process, America said they were only banning visitors from 7 named countries. Yet in practice that hasn’t been true. A couple of Brits were turned away, some Nigerians have been refused entry and other nationalities have been too. This has already affected visitor numbers and this is likely to continue.
Current estimates consider around 4.3 million fewer foreign visits to the U.S. for 2017. If they don’t go to the U.S. they may come to Britain instead. That is even more likely while the value of the pound remains low.
While I keep my own political views out of this post, I do think both of these events will benefit Britain. Whether that is purely in the near term or longer remains to be seen. For this year at least, we are gearing up for what we hope is a very busy year in our hotel!