As the Great British Beer Festival gets underway in Olympia, London, British Beer & Pub Association Chief Executive Brigid Simmonds discusses the role traditional British pubs and beer are playing in attracting tourists to the UK.
Tourism in Britain wouldn’t work without our fantastic network of pubs. They are not just a home-from-home for British pubgoers. They are a vital tourist attraction in their own right for overseas visitors, who make millions of visits to Britain’s pubs every year.
With pubs in such demand on the tourist trail, they also make a big contribution to positive perceptions of Britain among tourists; an attraction quite unique to the UK.
It is right that this is now widely recognised. To give one example, I’m delighted the Government and Visit Britain now strongly support the tourism role of pubs, through the Pubs are GREAT strand of the GREAT Britain campaign. It is really making the most of one of our great tourism assets.
Of course, at the heart of every great pub is great British beer. In a typical pub, our national drink accounts for 70% of alcohol sales.
Pubs, and also beer festivals, provide the route-to-market for a record-breaking range of British beers. With so many beers to choose from, beer festivals have become a permanent feature, and alongside pubs, are also a draw for tourists.
At around 5,400, we now have more beers in Britain than ever before, each with its own unique style and flavour, and great local credentials. We now have over 1,000 brewers, also a record-breaking figure.
With pubs vital for tourism for both food and drink (we now service one billion meals a year) and beer also a vibrant and innovative part of our manufacturing sector, we certainly need to ensure that we make the most of this £20 billion industry.