126.96.36.199 Tourism is a major contributor to the South West’s economy, as evidenced in the Value of Tourism 2008 (South West Tourism April 2010). Drawing together data from different official sources show a total visitor related spend (day and staying) worth £9.4 billion, and a total number of trips (day and staying) of 118,014,000. Of the visitor economy, domestic visitors dominate the market in the South West, generating £8.4 billion spend in 2008, including
expenditure on second homes, boats and entertainments. According to rigorous analysis of 2006 data, tourist businesses generated the highest share of UK tourism activity at 9% of the region’s economic outputs (TIU, May 2010).
188.8.131.52 According to SW Tourism’s monthly survey, How’s Business? (September 2010) more businesses in the South West estimate an increase of visitors, from 30% in September 2009 to 37% in September 2010, and more reported an increase in turnover, from 35% to 38%. However, optimism levels for the future remains moderate and lower than for the same month in 2009.
184.108.40.206 Looking at VisitEngland data on domestic visitors, the South West is the most popular holiday destination, with an increase in trips from 19 million in 2008 to 21 million in 2009. The South West’s share of England domestic visitor trips in 2009 at 20.4%, and spend at 23.9%, were the highest for all English regions including London and the South East (VisitEngland, 2009).
220.127.116.11 Of leisure day visits (English Leisure Day Visits Survey, 2008), total expenditure on day visits was highest on trips taken to the South East (£1390 million), followed by the East of England (£927 million) and then the South West (£570 million). Across the England, the largest number of rural leisure visits were taken to the South East (163.9 million trips), followed by the East of England (109.0 million trips) and the South West (104.7 million trips). Average expenditure per day trip was highest amongst residents of London (£31.87) and lowest amongst residents of the South West (£19.76).
18.104.22.168 The CASE Regional Insight: South West (TBR, 2010) reports international visitor numbers to the region increased by 14% between 2004-2008, with an overseas visitor spend in 2008 of £983 million (an increase of
38%). Looking at the first three quarters of 2009 VisitEngland data for the South West, the trends are positive - in Quarter 3 (July-September) 2009, compared to the same period in 2008, visitor numbers and spend had increased but staying nights had decreased.
22.214.171.124 Based on a sample of 632 attractions, England Attractions Monitor Quarter 3 Report July-September 2010, shows admission numbers across England increased, particularly for rural attractions - in spite of wet weather and the low confidence of traders. Attractions reported an increase in British visitors on ‘staycations’, reflecting UK Tourism Survey evidence of a strong increase in overnight leisure stays among the domestic population. Furthermore, those
attractions reporting an increase in domestic visitors, also registered a sharp increase in the summer period (for the South West, there was a 10% increase in August admissions compared to August 2008). In 2009, owners of south west
attractions in Quarter 3 (July-September) were 44% more optimistic about trade than in 2008, with 14% less optimistic (just above the English average of 43% and 13% respectively). According to VisitEngland, the Top 10 free attractions in England included the Grand Pier at Weston-super-Mare, and in the Top 20 paid attractions were The Eden Project in Cornwall, Stonehenge and the Roman Baths in Bath. The South West’s thriving cultural tourism closely relates to the high number of arts, sports and MLA physical assets per 10,000 people, with the largest proportion of these assets being heritage related (57%).