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Coronation fortnight to deliver £200m+ boost to UK tourism

UK: The UK’s travel and tourism sector is expected to see a boost of more than £200 million as a result of King Charles III’s Coronation weekend [6-8 May] and fortnight around those dates, as consumers travel across the country to celebrate with friends and millions across the UK make the journey to London to catch a glimpse of the historic event. 

This Saturday [6 May] marks the celebration of a new monarch for the first time in nearly 70 years, after the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in June 1953, and the landmark event is expected to draw thousands of spectators from around the world to the English capital and elsewhere in the UK.

According to The King Charles III Coronation Report compiled by UK savings site VoucherCodes.co.uk, 4.1 million people in the UK are set to spend on travel over the Bank Holiday weekend as they visit friends and family, go on staycations and travel to London for the Coronation celebrations.

The British economy is forecast to see a boost of £8.01 billion over the Coronation weekend itself, with consumers spending £3.22 billion more than a typical May Bank Holiday [£4.8 billion].

That spending boost is likely to come primarily from consumers booking staycations, with 1.8 million people set to spend £93 million over the Coronation weekend. A further £85 million is forecast to come from travel into London alone, as 2.3 million people get set to descend on the capital for the celebrations, while the same number will travel elsewhere in the country, spending £72 million.

VoucherCodes.co.uk’s report shows that 47 per cent of those surveyed in the UK plan to celebrate the Coronation, whether they are attending a social gathering or street party [15.7 million] or travelling to London to see the royal family in person [3.4 million]. On the other hand, 53 per cent of UK consumers will choose not to celebrate the Coronation, instead using the additional time off to shop, eat out or go on short breaks, representing a welcome boost to the domestic travel and tourism sector.

Maureen McDonagh, managing director and SVP international at VoucherCodes.co.uk, said: “Whilst our research shows that sentiment towards the royals is mixed, the bonus bank holiday for King Charles’ Coronation will undoubtedly lead to a welcome surge in consumer spending for the tourism sector

“Although not everyone will be celebrating the event directly, many consumers will take advantage of the extra time off work to go on weekend breaks and visit friends and family across the country.

“However, it’s important for the tourism sector to keep in mind that many consumers are still adapting to the pressures of the current economic climate, and value for money is front of mind. Customers should not only have a great experience, but should feel like they are getting a great deal too as this will ensure they return, and more importantly recommend your business to others,” she added.

Across the Coronation fortnight [comparing 29 April 2023 – 14 May 2023 vs 29 April 2022 – 14 May 2022], short-term rental data provider Key Data estimates that London will receive a tourism boost worth over £205 million, helped by the arrival of 30,595 more overseas visitors than last year.

The landmark occasion has sparked a surge in bookings with international visitor numbers up 75.1 per cent  compared with the same period last year. Overall arrivals in London, including from across the UK, are 47.4 per cent higher year on year, compared with just a nine per cent rise in the number of people taking trips in England as a whole.

With an extra 30,000+ overseas visitors anticipated during the Coronation fortnight, totalling 71,378 foreign tourists, the capital will receive an additional revenue windfall worth an estimated £20 million, including spending money and the cost of hotels and short-term rental accommodation.

Nightly rates are up approximately 16 per cent year on year to £186 while there has been a 29.4 per cent improvement in occupancy. While the supply of hotel rooms will have remained relatively static, the number of short-term rentals available over the Coronation fortnight has climbed 6.5 per cent on last year to 81,818.

Revenue per available room [RevPAR] — a key measure of revenue strength across the hospitality industry — is up a staggering 50.1 per cent annually. Short-term rental operators in the capital are enjoying a 59.9 per cent increase in revenue overall.

Sally Henry, VP of business development at Key Data, said: “London will be full to bursting as royal fans from all over the world head to the capital to experience the atmosphere generated by this historic moment for themselves.

“London is always a popular destination for both domestic and international tourists, driving huge numbers of visitors all year round. The jump we’re seeing over Coronation fortnight is testament to the pulling power of the history and pageantry Britain is so famous for. The crowning of a king has become the crowning glory in London’s economic story this year and it’s the entire tourist industry’s chance to shine on the world stage.

“Short-term rental hosts are really feeling the benefit because they’re the cornerstone of London’s tourism economy. Occupancy, average daily rates and RevPAR are all up, but so are the number of properties on offer. This speaks to how the short-term rental industry has this incredibly important flexibility built in, which the traditional hotel industry just cannot offer,” she added.

ALTIDO, one of Europe’s largest short-term rental operators, says that it has seen record occupancy and prices across the Coronation weekend. Its London properties, which comprise 120 boutique apartments and high-end homes across the city, are over 70 per cent booked up, while nightly rates are, on average, 30 per cent higher than normal.

ALTIDO CEO William Parry said: “It’s not just that bank holiday weekend that we’re busy preparing for. The Coronation may drive further tourism to London and the rest of the UK for months to follow, and travel operators should be thinking about how they can capitalise on it.”

Meanwhile, data from global technology company Travelport has highlighted the impact of the King’s Coronation on international travel into the UK.

Globally, searches for international flights to the UK increased by 81 per cent within 24 hours of the date of the King’s Coronation being confirmed in October. The top countries of origin [besides the UK] searching for flights to the UK during the Coronation weekend within 24 hours of the date of the King’s Coronation being confirmed included Ireland [up 580 per cent in the day after the announcement], Italy [up 355 per cent] and Spain [up 349 per cent].

Bookings for UK-bound flights for the Coronation weekend increased by 149 per cent within 24 hours of the October announcement. However, while the largest volume of searches for trips to the UK during the Coronation weekend largely originated from Europe, the United States was the number one country to book trips to the country for the first weekend of May.