HLF report announces heritage tourism has boosted UK economy by £20 billion

By Culture24 Staff | 05 March 2010
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a photograph of people on a set of stairs

De La Warr Pavilion. Courtesy HLF

The HLF has revealed that the heritage tourism industry contributes a whopping £20.6 billion to the British Economy.

This puts the Heritage sector ahead of advertising, car manufacturing or film industries in terms of contribution to the United Kingdom’s gross domestic product.

The report, Investing in Success: Heritage and the UK tourism economy, highlights the importance of continued investment from the leisure, culture and heritage budgets in supporting tourism.

The report also demonstrates that heritage is a major motivation behind the tourism expenditure of domestic and overseas tourists and the industry supports an estimated 195,000 full-time equivalent FTE jobs.

a photograph of people looking at trains

Locomotion, the National Railway Museum at Shildon. Courtesy HLF

“We now have the figures to prove that heritage packs a substantial economic punch. Last year, domestic and overseas holiday visitor numbers grew as the wider UK economy was shrinking," said Jenny Abramsky, Chair of HLF.

"Our museums, historic sites and landscapes, are proving to be an immense and essential attraction, bringing in new visitors and boosting local economies.

"As we all look to economic recovery, we must keep investing in heritage tourism so that it continues to flourish, bringing with it key economic benefits."

a photograph of people in mining helmets

Big Pit: National Coal Museum. Courtesy HLF

Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage, added, “HLF’s current report successfully demonstrates the importance of heritage tourism to the UK economy. In times of economic difficulty, heritage tourism has proven its enduring popularity. As we come out of recession, we must continue to build on this positive position.”

The report has been endorsed by other leading heritage organisations including National Trust, Museums Libraries and Archives Council, Scottish Natural Heritage, Broads Authority and the Association of Independent Museums.

Sandie Dawe MBE, Chief Executive of VisitBritain commented: “This new HLF report is very welcome. Heritage tourism is the UK’s 5th largest industry. Our heritage economy is vibrant and a crucially important part not just of the £114 billion visitor economy but of our local, regional and national economies as well.

"VisitBritain’s research in 32 countries around the world reveals that our core strength as a visitor destination is our heritage, history, pageantry and culture.”

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