VisitEngland, VisitScotland and Visit Wales reveal for the first time the value of tourism spend generated by a variety of leisure activities

VisitEngland, in partnership with home nation tourist boards VisitScotland and Visit Wales today reveal for the first time, the value of tourism spend generated by a variety of leisure activities among international and domestic day and overnight tourists.

LONDON, 2015-10-15 — /Travel PR News/ — The figures released today at the annual media breakfast at the ABTA Convention in Costa Navarino, coincide with businesses reporting on a strong summer of bookings and a sector feeling confident for the autumn season.*

Tourism spend generated by a range of leisure activities include golf, cycling and fishing, sightseeing, trips to visitor attractions, and live sporting and music events. This new piece of research highlights the extent to which different activities motivate trip-taking in Britain; providing a calculation of spend attributable to a number of popular leisure pursuits, including:

Total annual tourism spending attributable to leisure activities:

  • Cycling or mountain biking contributes £520 million
  • Golf                                                         £456 million
  • Fishing                                                    £274 million
  • Watersports                                             £317 million
  • Watching wildlife / bird watching          £306 million
  • Attending a live sporting event               £3.2 billion
  • Long walks / hikes                                  £1.8 billion
  • Visitor attractions                                    £3.8 billion (domestic only)
  • Visiting historic buildings                       £2.2 billion
  • Attending the theatre                               £1.8 billion
  • Visiting museums / art galleries              £1.9 billion
  • Visiting parks / gardens                           £1.8 billion
  • Visiting zoos / aquariums                        £1.4 billion
  • Sightseeing (in a town or city)                £2.0 billion
  • Sightseeing (exploring the coast)            £1.4 billion
  • Sightseeing (exploring the countryside) £1.2 billion
  • Attending live music event / festival      £3.1 billion

Analysing the data by nation, for holiday and day trips taken by Brits, highlights the importance of activities across the whole country and their contribution to the economy. In England, trips including visitor attractions drive £3.1 bn of tourist spend, whilst attending a live sporting event contributes £2.6 billion and live music events / festivals £2 billion.  The popularity of golf in Scotland is evident; delivering almost £90m from domestic trips, whilst Wales brings in £54m in spending each year from those who participate in cycling / mountain biking.

James Berresford Chief Executive VisitEngland says: “This new research is welcome news; confirming the huge contribution that the variety of leisure activities in this country make to the economy. Trips motivated by activities such as walking and cycling generate a massive associated spend; as people are willing to travel around the country to take part in them and that is something businesses can tap into to drive growth; by offering new and exciting experiences”.

Following a record breaking performance for domestic tourism in the first five months of the year, VisitEngland’s latest Tourism Business Monitor results report an uplift in both the accommodation and attraction sectors, with half of all sites reporting an increase in visitor numbers and satisfaction within the May – September period this year, at 93% for both. This growth has come from both domestic and overseas markets.


Press enquiries:

For more information, please contact:

Kaye Woodhouse, PR Manager – Communications & Tourism Affairs
Tel: 0207 578 1244 | M: 07855 962 940

Notes to Editors:

About Activities research

  • Attributable spend figures on visits involving an activity were calculated using data from a TNS omnibus survey data,
  • Those respondents who had taken part in activities during a domestic holiday, short break or day trip taken in the UK were asked how important the activity was in their decision to take the visit. Omnibus data was combined with volume and value data from the GB Tourism Survey, the GB Day Visitor Survey and the International Passenger Survey, to calculate attributable spending figures
  • This analysis was undertaken by the research agency TNS on behalf of the three national tourist boards VisitEngland, VisitScotland and Visit Wales.

*About The Tourism Business Monitor and GBTS

  •  Confidence is high for the autumn period, with 93% of accommodation businesses and 96% of attractions feeling very or fairly confident, and advanced booking levels for accommodation higher than they were at the same time last year. Whereas for most of the year, growth has been faster for domestic visitors than international, growth in summer came from both domestic and international markets, with domestic growth slowing compared to earlier in the year (though still very high!).
  • All accommodation and attractions types saw increased visitors, with hotels continuing to outperform other accommodation types. Optimism for the end of 2015 has remained positive, with around 3 in 5 attractions and accommodation businesses indicating they think this year will be an improvement on 2014’s performance. Outdoor attractions did not see the same level of growth as indoor / mixed attractions, perhaps due to the variable weather so far this year.
  • Jan-June this year domestic has seen an increase in the total number of trips taken in England by 14% YOY, with a 15% increase in the number of overnight trips, while spending has grown by 13%. Trip volumes and nominal expenditure for the January – June period is at an all-time high since the current survey started in 2006. (taken from GBTS).

 About VisitEngland

  • VisitEngland is the country’s national tourist board, sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport. We work in partnership with Government and the industry to develop the visitor experience across England, plan national tourism strategy, grow the value of tourism in England and provide advocacy for the industry and our visitors; our work is underpinned by robust research and customer insights.
  • England is a unique destination and a real powerhouse in global tourism. It represents 84 per cent of the total UK visitor economy, is worth £106 billion, and supports 2.6 million jobs.

For further information and to access the latest in-depth market intelligence and statistics visit

SOURCE: VisitEngland