Tourism: useful links

Tourism is one of the largest industries in the UK. In 2004 its annual turnover was £76 billion (over 4 per cent of GDP) and, as an industry, it employed around 2.1 million people (over 7 per cent of the working population).

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)'s direct support for the industry totals around £54.5 million, mostly spent through VisitBritain, which promotes Britain abroad as an attractive place to visit and now also promotes England domestically:

VisitBritain website

Partners for England is a collaborative initiative owned by public and private stakeholders with an interest in the prosperity of England's visitor economy. The initiative places a strong emphasis on the national, regional, sub-regional and local tourism interface, and the pursuit of economies of scale. The objective is to create a shared sense of purpose through agreeing a core set of priorities for joint action and delivery.

Partners for England website

In May 2006, following lengthy consultation with the industry and the DCMS, Dept for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) published Good Practice Guidance on Planning for Tourism:

Good Practice Guidance on Planning for Tourism – on the DCLG website

Local authorities also play a vital role in improving the quality of the visitor's experience through management of the public realm. In 2003/04, local authorities spent nearly £114 million on discretionary tourism promotion and development.

A wide range of activity depends on tourists. Some sectors clearly exist to serve them, such as accommodation, holiday parks and visitor attractions. Others identify less readily with the tourism industry but their prospects are linked to its success. Galleries, museums, theatres, cinemas, heritage sites in public and private ownership, shops, pubs, clubs, and restaurants all contribute to the attractiveness of the UK as a destination for overseas visitors.

If development of tourism is to be sustainable, resources must be used intelligently. The tourism sector is an important driver of local and regional economic development, and relevant to many aspects of social policy. It can support a diverse and fair society by opening tourism opportunities to all. It can promote an environmental policy that protects our natural and built environment.

Measuring the impact of tourism

The Tourism Intelligence Unit has now published notes on how to measure tourism locally. These have been developed in conjunction with a number of DMOs and councils as part of the English Tourism Intelligence Partnership's work programme. They are there to help councils collect data in a consistent and robust way.

English Tourism Intelligence Partnership website

22 July 2015

Related resources

Growing Tourism Locally

Published by VisitEngland

Boosting the Visitor Economy

Conference presentation by Cllr Brendan Jameson, South Lakeland District Council

Tourism and economic development case studies


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