Culture Vultures Can Prove Rich Pickings for Tourism

Monday June 02, 2014


Think Tank review highlights economic benefits

A Briefing Note commissioned by the Tourism Society on Cultural Tourism outlining the potential for economic growth for Britain’s attractions and events was unveiled today at the Tourism Symposium in Liverpool as part of the city’s International Festival for Business.

Key points highlighted by the Briefing Note include:

  • There is overwhelming evidence of the economic and social benefits of well-managed tourism.
  • Cultural and heritage tourism is a type of tourism exhibiting increasing strong demand, and growing potential, internationally; aided by demographic and other social factors.
  • Britain has very rich and diverse cultural and heritage resources that are strongly attractive to inbound tourists, and differentiate us from competitor destinations.
  • The majority of the audience for cultural attractions and events are local residents but these resources have the potential to attract day visitors from further afield in the UK and inbound tourists
  • Enhanced cultural attractions and events contribute to social wellbeing and improve the quality of life for local residents and for tourists.
  • Investment to improve existing, or create new, cultural resources should be very carefully evaluated for future viability, with realistic assessments of net economic benefits, sustainable demand and funding.
  • There is strong potential to derive greater economic success from tourism, by investing in, and marketing, cultural resources, which will in turn help sustain them, for the benefit of local residents and tourists.

The author of the Think Tank Briefing Note, Ken Robinson CBE, a Board Director of the Tourism Society, presented the findings at a session at the Symposium appropriately entitled, ‘Mr Blue Sky’. He then joined a panel of distinguished speakers who discussed the points raised by the Paper. The panel was chaired by Deidre Wells OBE, CEO, UKinbound and included Claire McColgan MBE, Director of Culture, Liverpool City Council; Jon Pywell, Assistant Head of Service City Culture and Hull City of Culture 2017 Lead and Dr Beatriz Garcia, Head of Research, Institute of Cultural Capital, University of Liverpool.

Speaking at the Symposium, Chairman of the Tourism Society, Sandra Matthews-Marsh said: “The government’s Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) has the remit to support cultural resources and activities. Its agencies, VisitBritain and VisitEngland, have both long recognised the importance of cultural tourism and are working hard to further develop strategies to maximise opportunities in this area. It is estimated that inbound tourists alone spend £6.8 billion on culture and heritage tourism, add to this revenues generated by local and domestic visitors and it is clear to see that this part of the tourism business offers excellent potential for economic growth and employment.”


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For a copy of the Think Tank Briefing Note and images, please contact:

Mike Bugsgang
T: 07767 491817

Blanche Fitzgerald
T: 0207 269 9693