The rupee has been sliding in value for several months — the pound has long crossed the Rs. 100 mark — but the number of Indians visiting Britain for holiday, business and other reasons is showing record growth, latest official figures show.
According to VisitBritain, the nodal authority for tourism, 9% more Indians flew to London and other parts of Britain during the first three quarters of 2013 than in the corresponding period of 2012. The latest figures for 2013 cover the period when the rupee began its downward spiral.
Releasing the analysis of Indian visitors in 2013 to HT, VisitBritain sources said that 306,000 Indian visitors spent £349 million between January and September 2013. Q3 of 2013 also recorded a 28% growth in Indian visits compared to Q2.
Holiday remains the main purpose of Indians visiting Britain, followed by visits to meet friends and relatives (Britain has a large Indian diaspora). Given the increasing number of Indian companies setting up offices in London and elsewhere, ‘business’ is fast emerging as a major category of visits.
Indian tourists often visit sylvan locations in England and Scotland where popular Bollywood films were shot.
London and its many attractions remain the most favoured destination of Indian visitors, followed by other places in England, such as the Lake District and Yorkshire. The biggest appeal for Indian tourists is held by a tour of the Buckingham Palace, the analysis indicates. The least visited area is Wales.