The latest tourism figures are in and they are a cause for celebration. One of VisitBritain's key objectives is to boost the regional spread of inbound tourism to ensure its economic benefits are felt all over Britain. Last year saw that happen, with every nation across the country welcoming an increase in both visitor numbers and tourist spending.
Theatre is not unfamiliar with playing understudy to football or shopping as a popular activity for tourists, but its appeal and contribution is strong regardless... More of our holiday visitors from overseas are going to the theatre, musicals, the opera or ballet (2.8 million) than to a live sporting event (1.3 million) across Britain.
Britain's built heritage is a huge asset and one of our major strengths as a tourism destination. Looking forward, we are capitalising on this forte by upping our promotional activity in key markets around the world, using images that highlight the drama of our castles and romantic appeal of historic houses.
Looking back at royal baby week, one can't help but realise the global reach of such occasions and the positive knock on effects for international tourism. Judging by the international media gathered in London for the birth of Prince George, Britain's profile has undoubtedly been lifted, with images and footage splashed across newspapers and TV sets globally... Hosting the very best national broadcasters from around the world puts us front of mind once again and reinvigorates our brand as we seek to maintain the momentum of the Royal Wedding, The Queen's Diamond Jubilee and of course the 2012 Olympic Games.
There is no doubt that British patriotism is at an all-time high after last year's Diamond Jubilee, followed by the hugely successful Olympic Games, and now we're back in the global spotlight with the birth of the 'Prince of Cambridge'. The media has been unanimous in celebrating "brand Britain", but how does this translate to how the UK is viewed by the rest of the world?
Research (from Tourism Economics) has shown that if we can get the right partnerships, the right marketing and the right policy actions we can increase inbound visitor numbers from 31 million to 40 million by the end of the decade - an increase of 9 million visitors by 2020 creating £8.7 billion a year in additional foreign exchange earnings and over 200,000 more jobs.