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Cultural And Seaside Destinations Fall Behind After A Decade Of Tourism Growth

submited Fri 19 Jun, 2009
Liverpool best performing UK City for Tourism since 2000

The first ever City Tourism Index is released today revealing 7% growth (£9.5bn of new spend) in the £53bn UK city break market since 2000 at the expense of declining tourism in seaside, rural and historical locations.   The report predicts that consumers will choose city breaks rather than seaside holidays as the recession impacts travel spending. 

Commissioned by Jurys Inns Hotel Group, who operates in 26 UK and Irish cities, the report ranks the tourism performance of the top 20 cities in 2000 and 2008 exploring the changing nature of the holiday market over the last decade.

Highlights include:
  • City break market is the powerhouse of UK tourism – 67% of all expenditure - valued at £53.9bn in 2007
  • Cities outperformed rural and seaside locations in the 2000’s gaining 7% of total market share and £9.5bn of new spend
  • Liverpool is the biggest winner experiencing 186% growth since 2000
  • Tourists are dumbing down as visits to high brow historical destinations such as Stratford, the home of Shakespeare, decline
  • Since 2000 the best performing sector of UK tourism is the elite group of former ‘industrial’ cities that have been transformed through £100 bn  of regeneration by New Labour

Inbound Tourism Trends from 2000-2007

The Index reveals average growth in foreign tourists to UK cities was 24% from 2000 to 2007; and average spend is up 27% from £9,339m to £11,893m.  London is the UK’s powerhouse destination with 47% of all inbound UK visits in 2007.

Liverpool is the success story increasing foreign visitors by 186% from 190,000 to 544,000 driven by its positioning as the cultural capital of the North.    Three dominant groups emerge in the City Tourism Index:

1) Dominant growth in ‘Old Industrial, Premiership Cities’ synonymous with popular football teams:
  • Liverpool +186%
  • Manchester +73%
  • Glasgow + 76%
  • Newcastle + 54%

2) Chasing Pack of ‘Red Bricks’:
  • Edinburgh +47%
  • Nottingham +45%
  • Birmingham +35%
  • Bristol +31%
  • Leeds (appears in 13th place – not previously in top 20)

3) Decline of England’s ‘History Cities’:
  • Stratford (off the list)  
  • Coventry (off the list)
  • York - 32% (moves from 10th to 19th)
  • Oxford +12% (down from 7th to 9th)
  • Cambridge +2% (down from 8th to 10th)
  • Bath -7% (down from 11th to 15th)

Brighton is the lone seaside destination in the City Index (+25%)

Average spend in the top 20 cities is up 27% from a total of £9,339m to £11,898 bn

Domestic Tourism Trends in 2000-2008

City breaks in the UK by British consumers are down overall since 2000 because of the negative impact of rapid budget airline growth.  Some of the cities experiencing growth in foreign visitors have also seen domestic visits rise significantly since 2000. 

Visits to Bristol by British tourists are up by 71% between 2000 and 2008. Liverpool and Manchester saw 58% and 53% growth respectively due to greatly improved hotel stock and cultural attractions.  Despite declines in foreign visits, York emerged as the domestic success story having enjoyed a staggering 220% growth in domestic tourism between 2000 and 2008.

City break trends among under 35’s are up 30% revealing a ‘generation U’ (URBAN) of young people attracted to study, live, work and visit our cities.

John Brennan Chief Executive of Jurys Inns Group commented: “The story of the last decade has been the renaissance of the UK’s former industrial cities into engines of tourism growth.  Our City Index demonstrates that city tourism has outperformed the industry as foreign and British visitors gravitate away from seaside, historical and rural destinations to the UK’s more vibrant cities. 

We forecast another £10bn in tourism growth for UK cities if they continue on the same trend to 2016.

Jurys Inns business model is based on superior hospitality, competitive prices and locations at the heart of great cities. We will use this report to champion the City Tourism market and inform our development plans as we seek to double the size of our UK business.”

Press Enquiries: Mark Hutcheon, ReputationInc T: +44 (0)203 178 4765/ +44 (0)7739 181 352

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