Harry Potter drives Britain’s tourism highlights in 2017: VisitBritain

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A British official tourism body on Thursday listed several anniversaries and celebrations as the country’s tourism highlights in 2017, including the anniversary of the first Harry Potter book.

Among the highlights are also the 200th anniversary of the death of the iconic writer Jane Austen and the 125th anniversary of the first Sherlock Holmes publication, VisitBritain, a national tourism agency, published on its website.

A wide range of other celebrations, attractions and openings in both cultural and sporting fronts are also listed on the website.

The agency forecasts that 2017 is set to be a record year for inbound tourism.

It says number of overseas visitors to Britain is expected to rise next year to 38.1 million visits, up 4 percent on 2016.

And spending by overseas visitors is predicted to reach 30 billion U.S. dollars in 2017, an 8 percent increase on spending of an estimated 27 billion dollars during 2016.

VisitBritain CEO Sally Balcombe said: “These figures not only underpin a longer-term pattern of growth for inbound tourism, one of our fastest growing export industries, but also demonstrates its growing importance as a key driver for economic growth and jobs.”

Tourism is Britain’s seventh largest export industry and third largest service sector, as well as a major job creator.

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