Football is becoming increasingly important in attracting incoming tourism to the UK and boosting visitor expenditure, according to a new study from VisitBritain, the national tourism agency.

According to a new analysis released today, foreign visitors who attended a football match in the United Kingdom spent £1.4 billion in total during their stay in 2019, up 84 percent from the £742 million spent in 2011 when the study was last conducted.

In 2019, 1.5 million people visited the United Kingdom to watch a live football match, increasing 66% from 909,000 in 2011.

Visitors who watched a football match also paid more and stayed longer, spending an average of £909 on each visit, up 31% from the global visitor average of £696 in 2019, and staying ten nights compared to seven.

Football matches are embraced by more than just leisure visitors.

94,000 international business travellers were among the 1.5 million who attended a football match during their trip.

Football was also the most popular live sporting event for international visitors to the UK in 2019.

“Football tourists boost local economies during the off-peak tourism season supporting restaurants, hotels and hospitality venues,” said Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston.

“I will continue to work closely with VisitBritain, the Premier League and the EFL to keep up this momentum.”

More than half of the visitors who watched football while on vacation also visited the country’s iconic landmarks and buildings, and nearly three-quarters ate at a restaurant.

They were also more likely than other incoming visitors to participate in these activities, demonstrating the economic benefit that football tourists provide.

Richard Masters, the Premier League’s chief executive, said: “The Premier League and its clubs provide competitive football, featuring the world’s best players and managers, in front of brilliant fans. We are very proud of the positive impact the League has on both national and local economies.”

He added, “Seeing the competition in action is fantastic and we look forward to welcoming more international visitors to our stadiums in the future.”

The Irish Republic was the biggest source market for football-watching tourists in 2019, with 175,000 visits, followed by Germany (126,000) and the United States (113,000).

– India’s new age travel digital media


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