Tourism bosses celebrate royal engagement

The wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle next year is generating global attention for the UK, say tourism bosses.

The royal couple will tie the knot at St Georges Chapel, Windsor Castle, in May and tourism bosses expect the publicity will boost inbound tourism.

Bernard Donoghue, director of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions, said: “The 2011 wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge saw an additional 600,000 people come to London for the weekend; 60% from UK, 40% from overseas, spending £107 million – including £8.4 million in West End theatres.

“The value to ‘brand Britain’ due to global media coverage was approximately £1 billion.”

Patricia Yates, VisitBritain director, spoke to ITV about the global media spotlight being on Britain as “a romantic destination” and described the wedding as a “milestone event”.

A VisitLondon spokesperson said: “Across the UK it’s estimated that tourism linked to Royal residences such as Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle generates more than £500 million a year and attracts more than 2.7 million visitors.”

The Daily Telegraph said that data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that Prince William and Kate’s wedding in 2011 boosted the tourism sector, with 30.6 million overseas residents visiting the UK in 2011, an increase of 800,000 on 2010.

Over the month of April, when the wedding took place, an extra 350,000 visitors came to the UK compared to the previous year.

Donoghue told the Telegraph that an increase in US visitors is particularly likely, as Markle is an American.

“The number-one reason overseas visitors come to the UK is our history, our heritage and our pageantry. Royalty is absolutely key to all of that. It’s one of the most important drivers for American visitors to come to Britain,” he told the Telegraph.

Pictured is Windsor Castle (c) VisitBritain.