New research reveals heritage tourism boosts UK economy in tough times contributing £26.4bn per year

10 Jul 2013

Today, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is announcing new research showing that heritage-based tourism is now worth £26.4bn to the UK economy - £5.8bn higher than the previous estimate published in 2010. The new report also suggests that heritage is playing an increasingly important part in the choices of Brits who decide to stay in the UK for their holiday - over a quarter of all UK holiday activities undertaken by UK residents now involve heritage.

HLF published its first report on heritage tourism, ‘Investing in Success’, compiled by Oxford Economics¹, in 2010, based on data from 2007. The report analysed the impact of the heritage-based visitor economy and established that the sector made an even bigger contribution to UK GDP than the advertising, car manufacturing or film industries. Those findings clearly highlighted the importance of heritage tourism and its ability to help the UK economy. Today’s analysis, drawing on the latest visitor statistics from 2011, demonstrates the power of heritage in attracting visitors even more clearly.

Dame Jenny Abramsky, Chair of HLF, said: “Heritage is a strong driver for both international and domestic visitors and an especially powerful draw for those who choose to stay in the UK for their holiday. We should be thankful that we have such a rich and diverse heritage to offer - from our world-class museums, historic country houses to coastlines and beautiful landscapes.”

Loyd Grossman, Chair of The Heritage Alliance speaking on the links between heritage and the tourism business at today’s Tourism Alliance AGM, warmly welcomed the report:  "I'm delighted that these figures once again clearly demonstrate the links between heritage and tourism. This is incontestable proof that our unique heritage is one of our major national assets and can contribute to our national economic recovery. Heritage means business for Britain.”

Minister for Tourism Hugh Robertson said: “Britain’s world famous heritage attractions are pulling in visitors from both home and abroad, making a significant contribution to the economy. We will do all we can to help both the heritage and tourism sectors continue to grow and compete with other global destinations.”