Transport to and from one of Britain's main gateways is set to become easier for international visitors with the introduction of ‘pay as you go' Visitor Oyster cards on journeys between Gatwick Airport and London.
From January 2016, international visitors to Britain will be able to use the popular Visitor Oyster card as payment when travelling on the Gatwick Express, Southern Railway or Thameslink train services between London and Gatwick Airport, making it easier for them to explore Britain's nations and regions.
The Visitor Oyster card is a quick, convenient way for visitors to pay for public transport journeys across London.
Kevin Jones, Head of Trade at VisitBritain, said:
"Visitor Oyster cards are the ‘must have' pass for travelling on London's extensive transport network which not only offers easy access to all of the city's wonderful attractions but also puts the rest of Britain within easy reach.
"We know that having easy-to-use public transport influences the perceptions tourists have of how welcoming Britain is so we are thrilled that, come the New Year, even more international visitors will be able to start reaping the benefits of pay as you go travel from the moment they step off the plane."
As well as saving time, Visitor Oyster card holders can also save money. A single journey paper peak-time ticket currently costs £15.40 from London Terminals to Gatwick Airport (excluding Gatwick Express) whereas with pay as you go a trip in the ‘peak' travel time from Gatwick to London will cost £14.00 and £8.00 ‘off-peak'.
The cards can be used on London buses, trains, trams and the Underground, and provide exclusive discounts and money-saving deals on leading restaurants, shopping and entertainment venues simply by showing the card.
VisitBritain partnered with Transport for London in 2013 for the global promotion and distribution of the Visitor Oyster card on a ‘buy before you fly' basis encouraging visitors to London to pre-purchase their travel tickets before they leave home.
About 70,000 cards on average are sold globally every month and demand is increasing. From April to October this year more than 558,000 cards were sold compared to 357,000 during the same period last year, an increase of more than 50%.
The number of international visits to Britain reached 34.4 million in 2014 - a record year. International visits to Britain for the first nine months of 2015 have also broken records, according to latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, with 27.1 million visits from January to September this year, a 3% increase compared to the same period in 2014.
Tourism is Britain's seventh largest export industry and third largest service sector. Inbound tourism was worth more than £26 billion to the UK economy in 2013.
1. Oyster was introduced on London's transport network in 2003. Since then around 70 million Oyster cards have been issued.
2. Using Visitor Oyster, customers only need one card to travel on all public transport across London, including most National Rail services operating within the capital. Oyster pay as you go customers are always reminded to touch in and out at the start and end of every rail journey to ensure they pay the correct fare. Visitor Oyster Cards can be purchased on the VisitBritainShop www.visitbritainshop.com.au in advance of travel to the UK.
3. More information about the expansion of Pay as you go to Gatwick Airport can be found here: More information about the expansion of Pay as you go to Gatwick Airport can be found here -https://www.gov.uk/government/news/contactless-payments-and-oyster-to-make-travel-to-and-from-gatwick-airport-seamless
For more information contact:
VisitBritain Media Teampressandpr@visitbritain.com