Rugby part of tourism boom

World Rugby Hall of Fame. NNL-160911-005046009
World Rugby Hall of Fame. NNL-160911-005046009

Warwickshire’s economy is set for a major boost this year with an additional £10m to £15m expected to be pumped into the county’s tourist industry from increased visitor numbers.

With attractions including Warwick Castle, the Royal Shakespeare Company and The Rugby World Hall of Fame, the tourist sector is a major component of the county economy. Overseas visitors spent more than £100m in Warwickshire in 2015.

And that sum is expected to significantly increase this year as visitors from around the world, notably the United States of America and Europe, take advantage of sterling’s post-Brexit devaluation.

The full implications of Brexit on the national and local economy will take years to unfold with next year likely to be tough as uncertainty over the future, causes businesses to hold fire on planning and investment.

But there will be a very positive impact on tourism in the short and medium-terms, says Warwickshire County Council’s economy and skills group manager Dave Ayton-Hill.

He said: “The significant and sustained devaluation of sterling, particularly against the dollar and euro, will encourage more overseas visitors to come to the UK this year. And with so many fantastic attractions in Warwickshire, we can expect to welcome our share.

“Indications from the US are that a lot of people who have long been thinking of a trip-of-a-lifetime to the UK will now take this opportunity while their money will go that much further. That is good news for Warwickshire because, whereas European visitors tend to come over for a weekend or few days, because of the distance involved tourists from US come for two or three weeks so spend that much more.

“We expect an extra £2.5m spend from visitors from the US and an extra £5.3m from Europe.”

“The challenge, not just for Warwickshire but for the UK as a whole, is for Britain to be seen as not turning its back on Europe in light of the Brexit vote.”