Britain's culture and heritage still major tourist draw

By Carina Perkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Food and drink is an important part of Britain's culture and heritage offering, according to a new report from VisitBritain
Food and drink is an important part of Britain's culture and heritage offering, according to a new report from VisitBritain

Related tags: Tourism

Britain’s culture and heritage is a key driver for inbound tourism, with food and drink an important part of the cultural package, according to a new report.

The ‘Leveraging our Heritage and Culture’ report, launched by VisitBritain and the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) at the Tate Britain museum today, revealed that culture and heritage was worth £7bn to the UK economy last year – a third of total inbound spend.

According to the report, produced by market research agency hpi​, over half of 1,500 travellers surveyed from the UK’s three largest tourism markets – the USA, Germany and France – said culture and heritage was their main motive for visiting Britain.

Britain’s historical architecture was an important factor for many of these visits, and the UK was ranked second out of seven markets for ‘historical buildings’, with only Italy scoring higher.

However, when visitors were asked how they wanted to experience Britain’s culture, food and drink (81 per cent) came out above architecture (69 per cent ), castles (68 per cent) and natural beauty (78 per cent).

Culture and heritage

VisitBritain said it hoped the report would help the tourism industry work together to promote British culture and heritage abroad. 

“Culture and heritage is already one of our global strengths in the competitive world of international tourism,” said VisitBritain chairman Christopher Rodrigues.

“It is crucial to understand how people connect with our culture and the key motivations that make them choose Britain. Working together with our colleagues in the cultural sector we can ensure our messaging remains inspirational to a global audience, grow Britain’s fifth largest export – tourism – and deliver jobs and growth across the UK.” 

The report builds on previous research which suggests that the culture and heritage industry is one of Britain’s key exports.

According to an opinion poll conducted by the Nation’s Brand Index last year, Britain ranks fourth for culture and fifth for historic buildings out of fifty nations. Britain is also placed third for competitiveness on cultural resources, according to the World Economic Forum’s ranking of 140 countries.

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