Prince William’s royal wedding with his longtime girlfriend, Kate Middleton, can boost UK tourism, a top UK tourism official predicted, after the couple announced their engagement on Tuesday.

The wedding, which will happen in 2011 spring or summer, is expected to draw tourists, VisitEngland chief executive James Berresford told the media.

The wedding next year will mean that once again the eyes of the world will be turned to our nation. We will have a wonderful opportunity to showcase all that is best about the country - its heritage and its history and what being English is all about, he said.

Travel industry experts foresee the royal wedding as an opportunity to showcase all that is great about the country including its tourism products, royal monarchy and more. This would generate interest among travelers to visit England. It’s going to be a major wedding event since the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Diana in 1981, they noted.

A recent data released by the country’s Office of National Statistics revealed that the number of foreign people visited UK in the first nine months of 2010 was nearly 22.48 million, about two percent lower than the numbers recorded in the corresponding 2009 period.

The United Kingdom, which witnessed a dip in tourism this year, is already gearing up for the royal wedding in 2011 and the 2012 London Olympics as well as the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in the same year.

An opportunity to attract foreign tourists during the three major events in the coming years will be a “real shot in the arm for tourism” of UK.