The UK’s tourism industry is expected to grow in 2024, with an increase in inbound visits and spending compared to 2023 levels. However, the recovery and growth rates may vary across different markets and regions. Some of the top opportunities for investing in the UK’s tourism industry in 2024 are:
Sustainable tourism is a form of tourism that aims to minimize the negative environmental, social, and economic impacts of tourism while maximizing its positive impacts. Investing in sustainable tourism can help to create jobs, reduce carbon emissions, and support local communities, some of the UK investments opportunities in sustainable tourism are:
- Direct investments in green and eco-friendly hotels, attractions, transport, and technologies that reduce the environmental impact of tourism activities.
- Venture capital in innovative startups and technologies that offer sustainable tourism solutions, such as renewable energy, water and waste management, and transportation infrastructure.
- Crowdfunding in community-based projects and initiatives that promote social inclusion, cultural preservation, and local development.
2. Sleep tourism
Sleep tourism is a form of tourism that focuses on providing services and amenities that enhance the quality and quantity of sleep for travelers. It is a growing trend in the wellness travel sector, as more people seek to improve their sleep habits and health. Example of the UK investments opportunities in sleep tourism are:
- Zedwell hotel: This is a hotel in London that puts sleep at the centre of its services, offering visitors “cocoons” that are designed to create a relaxing and comfortable environment for sleep. The hotel features calming scents, specially curated playlists, and carefully considered lighting and temperature.
- Sleep retreats: These are resorts or hotels that offer upmarket sleep programs that include consultations with professional sleep coaches, sleep-inducing meditations and breath work classes, and technologies that help the guests wake up naturally. Some examples of sleep retreats are Puente Romano in Spain, Six Senses in Portugal, and The Sleep School in the UK.
- Sleep-focused services and amenities: These are features that hotels and accommodations can offer to help guests seek a better night’s sleep, such as pillow and mattress menus, options to choose the quality of the sheets, and bespoke scents that induce sleep. Some hotels that offer these services and amenities are The Savoy in London, The Langham in Edinburgh, and The Scarlet in Cornwall.
3. London hotels
Investing in hotels in London, which has become the most attractive European city for hotel investment in 2024, with a stable growth in revenue per available room and prominent transactions at the turn of the year.
There are many opportunities for investing in hotels in London, as the city is expected to recover and grow its tourism industry in 2024. Some of the possible investment opportunities are:
- Buying or developing green and eco-friendly hotels that offer sustainable tourism solutions and reduce the environmental impact of tourism activities.
- Collaborating with or acquiring existing hotels that have a strong brand reputation, customer loyalty, and market share, such as Corinthia London, The Savoy, or Flemings Mayfair.
- Exploring niche markets and segments that cater to specific customer needs and preferences, such as sleep tourism, wellness tourism, or destination dupes.
- Diversifying the portfolio by investing in other types of accommodations, such as serviced apartments, student housing, or co-living spaces, that offer more space, privacy, and flexibility than traditional hotels.
4. Outdoor and wellness experiences
Outdoor and wellness experiences are forms of tourism that focus on providing services and amenities that enhance the health and well-being of travelers. They are growing trends in the travel sector, as more people seek to improve their fitness levels, enjoy nature, and reduce stress.
Some of the UK investments opportunities in outdoor and wellness experiences are:
- Outdoor recreation market: This is a market that encompasses a wide range of recreational activities that take place in an outdoor setting, such as hiking, cycling, camping, water sports, and wildlife watching. The outdoor recreation market in the UK is expected to grow in 2024, as more consumers shift to outdoor fitness and seek to escape the urban environment. Investing in this market can help to provide products and services that cater to the demand of outdoor enthusiasts, such as equipment, clothing, accessories, and facilities.
- Health benefits from nature: This is a concept that refers to the positive effects of exposure to nature on human health and well-being. It is based on scientific evidence that shows that spending time in nature can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, improve mood, and boost immunity. Investing in this concept can help to support projects and initiatives that promote the health benefits from nature, such as green spaces, parks, gardens, and trails.
5. US Market
The UK investments opportunities in Tourism for US Market are based on the fact that the US is the UK’s most valuable inbound market. The US market is expected to be worth £6.7 billion in 2024, with American visitors contributing almost £1 in every £5 of all inbound spending. Some of the possible investment opportunities are:
- Marketing campaigns that showcase the UK’s diverse and unique experiences, such as culture, heritage, countryside, and cuisine, and appeal to the interests and motivations of American travelers.
- Partnerships with airlines and travel agents that offer competitive fares, convenient routes, and attractive packages to the UK, especially from new and emerging markets such as the West Coast and the Midwest.
- Product development that caters to the preferences and needs of American travelers, such as luxury hotels, outdoor and wellness experiences, destination dupes, and sporting events.
- Digital and social media platforms that reach and engage American consumers, such as websites, blogs, podcasts, and influencers, and showcase the UK’s tourism offerings and stories.
- Cultural and language training for staff and service providers that enhance the customer experience and satisfaction of American visitors, such as greeting, etiquette, and feedback.
6. Destination dupes
Destination dupes are a travel trend that involves visiting under-the-radar spots that offer similar attractions and experiences as the popular and overcrowded destinations. For example, swapping Santorini for Paros or the Lake District for the Italian Lakes. Investing in destination dupes can help to diversify the UK’s tourism industry and attract more visitors who seek authentic and unique experiences. The following are some of the UK investments opportunities in tourism in destination dupes:
- Liverpool: This is a destination dupe for London, as it offers a rich cultural heritage, a vibrant city life, and a variety of attractions, such as The Beatles Museum, the Albert Dock, and the Tate Liverpool.
- Isle of Wight: This is a destination dupe for Cornwall, as it offers a stunning coastline, a mild climate, and a range of outdoor activities, such as surfing, sailing, and hiking.
- Northumberland: This is a destination dupe for Scotland, as it offers a rugged landscape, a rich history, and a wealth of wildlife, such as castles, national parks, and puffins.
7. Serviced apartments
Serviced apartments are a type of accommodation that offer more space, privacy, and flexibility than traditional hotels, and are especially suitable for long-term stays, business travelers, and families. Some of the UK investments opportunities in tourism in serviced apartments are:
- Buying or developing green and eco-friendly serviced apartments that offer sustainable tourism solutions and reduce the environmental impact of tourism activities.
- Collaborating with or acquiring existing serviced apartments that have a strong brand reputation, customer loyalty, and market share, such as Zedwell, The Other House, or Wilde Aparthotel by Staycity.
- Diversifying the portfolio by investing in other types of accommodations, such as student housing, co-living spaces, or glamping, that offer alternative and innovative experiences.
8. Technology integration
Technology integration is a process of using digital technologies and data to enhance the efficiency, quality, and innovation of tourism products and services. Investment in technology integration for the UK’s tourism sector can be done in the following ways:
- Cloud computing: This is a technology that allows tourism businesses to access and store data and software on remote servers, rather than on their own devices. This can help to reduce costs, improve security, and increase scalability and flexibility.
- Data analytics: This is a technology that allows tourism businesses to collect, process, and analyze large amounts of data from various sources, such as customers, competitors, and markets. This can help to gain insights, optimize performance, and personalize offerings.
- Artificial intelligence: This is a technology that allows tourism businesses to use machines and algorithms to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as speech recognition, image recognition, and natural language processing. This can help to automate processes, enhance customer service, and create new experiences.
- Augmented reality: This is a technology that allows tourism businesses to overlay digital information and images on the real world, using devices such as smartphones, tablets, or glasses. This can help to enrich the visitor experience, provide information and guidance, and create immersive attractions.
- Block chain: This technology allows tourism businesses to create and exchange digital records that are secure, transparent, and decentralized, using a network of computers. This can help to facilitate transactions, reduce intermediaries, and increase trust.
9. Luxury tourism
Luxury tourism is a form of tourism that focuses on providing high-end and exclusive services and experiences to affluent and discerning travelers. Some of the UK investments opportunities in luxury tourism are:
- Luxury hotels: Investing in hotels that offer premium facilities, amenities, and services, such as spas, restaurants, concierge, and personalized attention, to cater to the demand of luxury travelers. Some examples of luxury hotels in the UK are The Ritz London, The Balmoral Edinburgh, and The Gleneagles Hotel.
- Luxury experiences: Investing in experiences that offer unique and memorable activities, such as culture, heritage, countryside, and cuisine, to appeal to the interests and motivations of luxury travelers. Some examples of luxury experiences in the UK are afternoon tea at The Savoy, a private tour of Buckingham Palace, and a helicopter ride over the Scottish Highlands.
- Luxury segments: Investing in segments that target specific customer needs and preferences, such as sleep tourism, wellness tourism, or destination dupes, to differentiate from the competition and create loyal customers. Some examples of luxury segments in the UK are Zedwell hotel, The Scarlet hotel, and The Other House.
10. Culinary tourism
Culinary tourism is a form of tourism that involves exploring and experiencing the local cuisine and culture of a destination. It is a growing trend in the travel sector, as more people seek to taste authentic and diverse food and beverages. Some of the UK investments opportunities in culinary tourism are:
- Food festivals and events: Investing in food festivals and events that showcase the best of the UK’s food and drink, such as Taste of London, The Big Feastival, and The Great British Food Festival. These events can attract visitors, generate revenue, and promote local producers and suppliers.
- Food tours and trails: Investing in food tours and trails that offer guided or self-guided visits to various food and drink venues, such as restaurants, pubs, markets, and farms. These tours and trails can provide information, education, and entertainment to visitors, as well as support local businesses and communities.
- Cooking classes and workshops: Investing in cooking classes and workshops that teach visitors how to prepare and cook local dishes, using local ingredients and techniques. These classes and workshops can offer interactive and hands-on experiences, as well as cultural exchange and social interaction.
To sum up, these are some of the top 10 tourism, travel and hospitality investments opportunities in the UK in 2024, investors interested in UK tourism opportunities should conduct market research and stay updated on industry trends, government initiatives, and emerging consumer preferences to identify specific investment prospects. Consulting with tourism industry experts and professionals can also provide valuable insights into potential opportunities and risks.