How Website Localisation Can Boost UK Tourism

How Website Localisation Can Boost UK Tourism

Millions of international holidaymakers flock to London every year for a taste of the English lifestyle, a spot of shopping and to see the sights.

Sights like Buckingham Palace, Tate Modern, London Eye and the Palace of Westminster pull in tourists from throughout the world, making tourism a very lucrative and growing sector of the UK economy.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show there were 16.8 million overseas visitors to the capital in 2013 – the highest tally recorded since 1961, with the majority coming from USA, France and Germany.

In fact, half of all visitors to the UK last year stayed in London, spending a total of £11.25 billion in the process.

Worryingly, however, a number of tourist attractions across the city are missing out on the current boom owing to a lack of a website localisation strategy, instead just offering an English-language website for potential visitors to view.

The fact that seven of the top 10 visiting countries do not have English as their mother tongue heightens the need to translate websites into a number of foreign languages so that tourists can more easily search for things to see and do.

Top 10 visitors to London in 2013

  1. USA (1,884,000)
  2. France (1,873,000)
  3. Germany (1,338,000)
  4. Italy (1,091,000)
  5. Spain (843,000)
  6. Netherlands (696,000)
  7. Australia (696,000)
  8. Irish Republic (619,000)
  9. Belgium (533,000)
  10. Sweden (523,000)

Who is missing out?

VisitLondon, to their credit, have identified the need for their website to be translated into French, German, Italian and Spanish in order to appeal to more European tourists. They also offer a translation in Chinese.

But many tourist attractions have yet to realise the potential of website localisation. Below are just a few examples.

Royal Collection Trust

The Royal Collection includes the majority of the contents of some 13 royal residences and former residences across the UK, most of which are regularly open to the public. Among these are Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Hampton Court, the Tower of London, Kensington Palace, Osborne House and the Royal Pavilion.

A total of 2,427,000 visitors passed through its doors between March 2012 and March 2013.

Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum is one of London’s most popular tourist attractions, boasting an extensive range of specimens from various segments of natural history that captivates people of all ages.

It attracted 5,289,685 visitors in 2012/13. This is an impressive tally, helped by free admission and the various events and exhibitions on show during the year.

Tate Modern

Tate Modern houses a vast collection of modern art ranging from 1900 to the present day, making it a favourite destination among art lovers around the world. Even the average tourist usually pops in for a look.

Some 5.5 million visitors made the trip to the gallery in 2012/13, the highest number ever recorded.

Royal Museums Greenwich

Royal Museums Greenwich is made up of four museums in London – the National Maritime Museum, Queen’s House, Royal Observatory, and Cutty Sark. Together they welcomed 1,943,054 visitors in 2012/13.

What if?

Even though the visitor numbers are impressive in each of the cases listed above, you cannot help but think what the totals could have been if they had a localisation strategy in place to appeal to a greater number of overseas tourists.

Not everyone can speak English, so translating your website into a number of foreign languages is crucial if you want to reach new customers overseas.

Reaping the rewards of website localisation

UK attractions can take advantage of a number of benefits that website localisation provides including:

Increased reach

Over 70% of the world’s internet users are not native English-language speakers. Translating website content into other languages allows businesses to increase their reach, especially if the languages selected are spoken by a large number of people globally – for example Mandarin or Spanish.

Improved SEO

In order to appear on search engine results pages for queries in foreign languages, a website needs to be localised for the target language and region. Website localisation increases the likelihood of gaining top positions on international search engines. If your content is informative and useful, you may also gain links from sites in your target market, further increasing your businesses rankings in the target region and language.

Increased confidence and trust

Internet users are more likely to use a website that has been translated into their native language. Studies have shown that a website’s conversion rate increases by an average of 70% when it is properly localised. Users also place more trust in sites that are written in their mother tongue.

If UK-based attractions were to focus on creating localised websites, UK tourism could increase substantially providing a huge boost to local businesses and the UK economy in general.

Interested in website localisation? Contact us for a no-obligation quote.

Written by Yusuf Bhana
Yusuf Bhana
Yusuf is Head of Digital at TranslateMedia. He has an interest in how technology can help businesses achieve their marketing objectives. He's been working in digital marketing and web development since 2001 across a wide range of industries and clients.

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