UK visitor numbers to Boston set to exceed pre-pandemic levels by 2023

The number of UK travellers visiting Boston is expected to exceed pre-pandemic levels by 2023.

The Greater Boston Convention and Visitor Bureau (CVB) has forecast the number of UK travellers visiting Boston will reach 175,000 by the end of this year – a drop of 25,000 when compared to 2019.

Visitor numbers fell sharply during the pandemic – with just 25,000 Britons visiting Boston in 2021 – but the bureau has predicted numbers will reach more than 200,000 next year, exceeding 2019’s figures.

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In an interview with Travel Weekly, Martha Sheridan, Boston CVB president and chief executive, explained the bureau is set to receive a large cash injection, as its funding model has changed from having $7.5 million each year to £30 million this year and $40 million next year.

The money will be used to fund an international marketing campaign to promote the city and encourage people to visit.

Sheridan said: “The UK is our most prolific international market and we are expecting to exceed our pre-pandemic visitor numbers by next year.

“The goal with the new funding is to stand up a fully-fledged international marketing programme that really elevates Boston’s profile as a global destination and allows us to compete more in line with our competitor destinations, such as New York, Chicago and Washington DC.

“We want to engage more with UK agents who will then generate more visits to Boston. We will do this by offering training and taking agents on fam trips where appropriate.”

Additionally, Sheridan said airlift has returned to pre-pandemic levels, helping boost visitor numbers.

“The UK market has already returned to the same airlift levels as 2019,” she said. “It has been helped by airlines such as JetBlue entering the market with flights that didn’t exist prior to the pandemic, but flights that were paused are now coming back in full swing.

“The UK is the only market where airlift has returned to normal – other European and Asian markets are slower to recover.

“I expect it is because the UK is such a popular destination for Americans, so flights between the two countries are coming back quicker.”

The Bureau is seeing UK visitors take longer trips than they were prior to the pandemic, as people tick off “bucket list holidays”.

Sheridan said: “We are seeing people increase the length of their stays from 14 days, which was common prior to the pandemic, up to 21 days now.

“There is still a lot of pent up demand as people were unable to travel during Covid, and we are seeing people splash out on higher end accommodation as they try to make the most of their holiday.

“The cost-of-living crisis has not yet impacted bookings as people continue to come to Boston.”

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