Thanksgiving boost to bookings from the US

VisitBritain is expecting a rise in visitors from the US during Thanksgiving week, as flight bookings show a rise of 20% compared to the same period in 2017.

Data from ForwardKeys show bookings from the US to the UK are up 20% from Sunday November 18 to 24 November 24, compared to the week when Thanksgiving fell last year. Thanksgiving Day this year is on Thursday November 22.

The increase echoes a longer-term trend, with forward bookings from the US to the UK tracking up 27% year-on-year from November 2018 to April 2019.

Patricia Yates, VisitBritain director, said: “We want the UK to be the number-one destination for US travellers, so it is great to see forward bookings looking strong in the coming weeks and months from our most valuable visitor market.

“With our hotels and shops, our visitor attractions and accommodation offering great value for US travellers it is a great time to book a trip.

“Working with partners including American Airlines, British Airways, Norwegian and Virgin Atlantic, we are boosting route connectivity and seat capacity, making it easier for US visitors to travel and to explore further through regional gateways such as Manchester, driving growth from tourism across our nations and regions.”

VisitBritain is also working with content partners in the US, including Refinery29, Matador Network, Food52 and Men in Blazers to promote Britain’s food and drink, culture, countryside and football-related visitor experiences.

The US is the UK’s most valuable inbound visitor market for tourism spending.

Visitors from the US spent a record £3.6 billion across the UK last year, up 9% on the previous year. Visits from the US grew 13% to 3.9 million in 2017, the highest since 2000.

Events in the UK marking Thanksgiving Day include a service at St Paul’s Cathedral, London (pictured), on November 22, and the Illuminate Light Festival, Plymouth (November 22-25).

Other festive events open on November 22, including the Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park, London (open until January 6, 2019) and Christmas at Kew Gardens, Richmond (open until January 5, 2019).

Picture credit: ©VisitBritain/ Richard Allen