England is all in a frenzy over the arrival of the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge’s baby son. As well-wishes gather outside Buckingham Palace and congratulations flood in from around the world, Lady Cobham, Chairman of VisitEngland, talks about the impact on tourism.
“The Royal Family has long been an asset to English tourism, but never more so than right now, with people across the world in a fever pitch of excitement around the arrival of the royal baby. The new addition to the Royal Family allows us to celebrate our rich heritage and highlight what families can enjoy on a visit to England.
There have been a number of wonderful royal celebrations in England in recent years – from the wedding of William and Kate in 2011, watched by an audience of 24 million people worldwide, to The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee last summer and just this month, the Coronation Festival in the Gardens of Buckingham Palace to mark the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation. All of which have showcased our country to fantastic effect.
The spell cast by the Monarchy’s 1,000 year history combined with the international media frenzy around the royal baby is extremely powerful at drawing people to England. The global excitement shows that Britain’s monarchic heritage draws tourists to just about every corner of the country. In turn, the birth will also heighten the profile of England’s royal attractions, from Kensington Palace, where the Duke and Duchess will live, to Windsor Castle and the Sandringham Estate. England’s distinctive royal places are a very important and unique part of our heritage and culture. In 2012 alone, 4.7 million holidaymakers visited a historic house, stately home or palace during their time in England and, indeed, I opened my own former home to the public for 20 years.
The industry has been quick to respond to this increase in demand, with many of England’s hotels and attractions offering themed breaks, packages and experiences. For example, the Hilton London Kensington has created a ‘Tot-ter Around Kensington’ package where guests can enjoy a two-night shopping break, ideal for mother-daughter bonding and mums-to-be. Meanwhile, one of the luxury suites at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane has been transformed into a five-star nursery, designed with the royal baby in mind. In addition, the Museum of London celebrates the momentous occasion with ‘A Royal Arrival’, a new display that delves deep into the Museum’s collection to showcase baby clothes and memorabilia worn by former royal babies.
The Royal Family generates an amazingly high worldwide profile for England and if our experience of the royal wedding and The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee is anything to go by, this good news will undoubtedly spread the feel-good factor and images of England around the world. As William and Kate move into the next phase of their lives, they will no doubt highlight what a wonderful place England is for family holidays.”