Heritage tourism is an industry worth £12.4bn a year to the UK.
Taking into account indirect economic benefit heritage tourism is responsible for £21bn of UK GDP annually.
Heritage tourism employs 195,000 people in the UK.
It is estimated 40% of employment in tourism depends directly on a high quality built and natural environment, rising to between 60% and 70% in more rural areas.
Growth in times of recovery
It is estimated that tourism economy will grow by 2.6% a year between 2009 and 2018, higher than the 0.8% forecast for manufacturing and similar to retailing and construction
There were three quarters of a million more visitors to EH properties in the year to October 2009, 16% up on the previous year’s total, bringing the total number of EH visitors to 5.4 million. The number of paid visits to National Trust properties rose from 11.9 million to the end of September 2008 to 14 million to the end of September 2009, an increase of 18%
Attracting inbound visitors to England
History/Built heritage is the strongest product driver in most overseas markets, and is the highest rated attribute when perceiving Britain as a tourist destination. 30% of overseas tourists claim heritage is the main reason for them visiting the UK – stronger than any other single factor.
Over 80% of potential tourists would visit historic monuments and buildings in Britain, making it the highest ranked activity. 8
In 2006 a third of oversees visitors took part in sightseeing famous buildings and monuments, only shopping was a more popular activity
Just under one in five (17%) of all visitors to heritage sites are from outside of the UK
Heritage tourism has a local and regional impact as well as a national importance
In 2008, 38% of visitors to heritage sites are from outside of the locality, 17% from overseas, bringing additional revenue to regions10
In the North West, the heritage visitor economy is worth £803 million Gross Value Added and supports 20,000 jobs
In the South West, Cumbria, North East and Wales it is estimated that each job in the National Trust generates between 5 and nine additional full time equivalent jobs4
Brading Villa remains on the Isle of Wight is an example of how heritage tourism can bring income to a local area. It is estimated that approximately half of all visitors come to this area of the Isle of Wight specifically for the attraction, and that each year the attraction is responsible for maintaining 27 full time equivalent (FTE) jobs, in addition to the direct 10 FTE
Enjoyable and popular
28.4 million adults England (69%) visited a heritage site in the last 12 months
More than 44 million visits were made to heritage sites in 2008
Overall three quarters of respondents (74%) have recommended a historic site to friends and family 13
On average, visitors spend three hours at heritage site, a clear sign of its popularity.13
Membership numbers continue to grow. In 2008/09 there were 3.6 million National Trust members, 687,000 English Heritage members (up 27% and 54% respectively on 2001/02) and 27,000 friends of the Historic Houses Association 14
Heritage tourism ranges from visiting stately homes and castles to sites of industrial heritage and urban social history. In 2008/09 one in five adults visited a place connected with industrial heritage and four in ten adults visited a historic garden or park. 13
Historic Review Executive Committee
25 2 2010
Economic impact of heritage tourism, Oxford Economics, 2009. This includes museums and green heritage sites as well as visits to the built historic environment
Economic impact of heritage tourism, Oxford Economics, 2009. This includes museums and green heritage sites as well as visits to the built historic environment and the indirect economic impact resulting from these sectors
Economic impact of heritage tourism, Oxford Economics, 2009. This includes museums and green heritage sites
Valuing our Environment, National Trust
The Economic Case for the Visitor Economy, Deloitte, 2008
Internal English Heritage performance figures 12/2/2010