Restaurant capital of the world
Research by tourist board VisitBritain and the International Passenger Survey has revealed a list of the most popular holiday activities for tourists in the UK. Top of the list was eating in restaurants – with an average of 79 per cent of tourists enjoying this activity when they visit the UK. However, when the results were sorted by region, just 59 per cent of visitors to the south-east go to restaurants, while in Scotland 89 per cent do.
UK restaurant owners will be pleased to find out the country's cuisine is no longer seen as boring, bad quality or fatty; in recent years, UK cities have soared to become luxury restaurant capitals of the world. Meanwhile, celebrity chefs setting up restaurants in rural areas – such as Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck at Bray – have become tourist attractions in themselves.
Regional tourism variations
Pubs and bars are also an enjoyable holiday pastime for 52 per cent of tourists, although nightclubs are only appealing to 12 per cent. Visiting villages, the countryside and the coast are much more popular than average in Scotland and Wales, although Wales did not fare very well for cultural attractions such as museums and theatres. Those in the north-west will be pleased to hear 'socialising with locals' was an aspiration of 61 per cent of visitors, beaten only by Wales. Yorkshire, meanwhile, turned out to be one of the most rural destinations, with countryside, outdoor pursuits and villages appealing to a high proportion of tourists. The report concluded: "Comparing the activities undertaken has important implications for each of the UK regions; clearly some destinations have a strong product and would be advised to play to these strengths, especially where these differentiate them from the competition."