TV drama and the weak pound set the scene for holidaymakers

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According to 28-year-old Linnea Rinas, the reason she's so keen to holiday in the UK is the long-running television crime drama, Midsomer Murders.

She has watched it with her family in Sweden for as long as she can remember.

The appeal of Britain's small screen dramas abroad is being dubbed "The Crown effect" after the biopic series about the British Queen.

Added to the impact of a weaker pound it is helping set the scene for a bumper year for UK tourism.

Linnea spent Easter visiting the Peak District, the Lake District and the Cotswolds.

"You have the lovely green hills. You've got the seaside, the cute houses, the pub culture, you've got everything," she says.

She's a fan of the property show, Escape To The Country, too, which is also shown on daytime television in Sweden.

Image source, Linnea Rinas
Image caption,
Linnea Rinas is not alone in choosing Britain as a holiday destination after being lured by the small screen.

A Barclays survey suggests that Linnea is not alone in choosing to explore Britain thanks to a passion for UK's small screen drama exports.

The popularity of the Netflix series, The Crown, dramatising the life of Queen Elizabeth II and a string of other recent successes such as Poldark, Sherlock and Downton Abbey are whetting travellers' appetites.

Amongst Chinese tourists interested in visiting the UK, 44% said TV programmes had driven their interest. More than a quarter of Americans planning a UK visit said the same.

On top of that, the weaker pound this year is convincing tourists from both home and abroad, that they'll get more for their money if they holiday here.

A third of those interested in holidaying in the UK cited the exchange rate as a reason in Barclays' survey.

Recent figures show that visitor numbers to the UK in January and February were 6% higher than last year.

VisitBritain, the UK's tourist body, reports that flight bookings to the UK for April to September this year are 21% higher than last year. And 2016 was already a record breaking year for in-bound tourism.

Barclays surveyed 10,000 respondents. Amongst those outside the UK, 63% said they were more likely to consider pitching up on UK shores this year. And responses from the UK suggest "staycations" could rise by around 30%.

Firms in the tourism sector are reporting an uptick in business.

Image source, Netflix
Image caption,
The recent hit series The Crown has whetted tourists appetites for a UK holiday

"Operators are reporting good forward bookings. We're seeing the first few months exceed expectations," says Mike Saul, head of Hospitality and Leisure at Barclays.

Scott McCready rents holiday cabins on the Devonshire coast. He says sterling's fall last year following the referendum vote had a marked and immediate effect on his bookings.

"It went bananas. It was like someone flicked a switch. Within a couple of days all the available units to let were booked for whole of last summer."

He expects to be fully booked again this year, largely thanks to the trend for Brits to holiday at home.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
UK holidays will be more attractive after the slump in the pound

Hannah Mercer, 35, will count herself among them this year.

In the past she and her husband, an American, holidayed in the States. This year, in part thanks to the poor exchange rate, they're looking closer to home.

"We'd want nice British experience like a country walk, a pub lunch, that kind of stuff" she says.

They're looking at Cornwall and Devon.

"It won't be dry all week," she concedes. "But if you get at least one or two days of sunshine, you've done pretty well. "

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