Royal Wedding 2018 secures major tourism boost for London and Windsor as Airbnb reveals 1438% bookings surge

The Royal Wedding has secured a major tourism boost for areas surrounding London and Windsor as Airbnb revealed bookings had surged by 1,438 per cent.

A leading travel agency also said that they had seen a spike in bookings for flights to London from Europe for the weekend of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding.

Bookings in Windsor and its nearby towns, Slough, Maidenhead and Reading have soared as excited fans gear up for the May 19 wedding, online letting firm Airbnb said.

The capital is also expected to receive more than 40,000 guest arrivals over the wedding weekend with visitors flocking to London to celebrate the nuptials there.

Harry and his bride-to-be will exchange vows at Windsor Castle’s St George’s Chapel before 600 guests. 

Leading online travel agent opodo.co.uk said it has seen a 33 per cent increase in passenger bookings to London airports between May 17 and 19 with the top 10 countries all from coming from Europe.

The US ranked the 12th biggest nation of visitors to the capital at the time of the royal wedding, according to the site.

More people are travelling to London from Germany than anywhere else, the travel company said.

It comes as Airbnb said unlikely tourist hotspot Slough would see an increase of 1438 per cent in guest arrivals over the Royal Wedding weekend compared to May 2017.

A spike of 194 per cent is predicted in Windsor, while guest arrivals in Maidenhead are set to increase by 362 per cent and Reading by 57 per cent.

Royal wedding countdown: The plan so far for Harry and Meghan

The online platform has also revealed homeowners in London, Windsor and nearby towns are set to cash in on Harry and Meghan’s wedding.

Airbnb announced a project total host income of nearly £12 million in London, while local residents in Windsor could make more than £126,000.

St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, where Harry and Meghan will marry (PA)

James McClure, General Manager for Airbnb says: “The Royal Wedding has provided a welcome tourism boost, putting the UK in the spotlight once again.

“By creating an opportunity to host visitors from near and far, Airbnb is supporting economic investment into small, local communities and also helping locals to make a little extra money from sharing their homes.”

However, despite the surge in European visitors to the UK for the wedding, industry experts have said they are not expecting an increase in long-distance bookings to the UK for the wedding.

“Don’t expect visitors from abroad to come for this royal wedding; it is a pageant for domestic consumption,” said Tom Jenkins, CEO of European tourism association ETOA.

According to ForwardKeys, a travel research firm that monitors 17 million flight bookings to the UK, bookings to London between May 14 and 19 are currently 2.8 per cent behind figures for the same period last year.

Olivier Jager, CEO of the ForwardKeys, said: “There was no discernible increase in bookings for the UK as a consequence of the royal wedding.”

A spokesman for the data firm told the Standard ForwardKeys holds less information on bookings with budget airlines, such as Ryanair.

Opodo.co.uk is an online booking agent featuring 530 airlines, including easyJet, Ryanair and BA, and 1.7 million hotels.

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