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Related to: Cultural Activities, Employment and Economic Activity, Green Infrastructure and Spaces, Night Time Economy, Economic Growth and Business Start-Ups

Key Facts:

  • In 2014 there were 969,900 overnight tourist visits to Bath & North East Somerset.
  • There were 4.8 million day visitors to B&NES in 2014.
  • In 2015 there were approximately 1 million visitors to the Roman Baths, 398,319 to the Abbey, 157,851 to the Victoria Art Gallery and 90,147 to the Fashion Museum.
  • Bath is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • In 2015 the City of Bath ranked 12th in the VisitBritain ranking of top cities/towns for international staying visitors. 
  • There were 323,000 international visitors to Bath in 2015, a 36.8% increase compared to 2014 when there were 236,000.
  • £411 million was spent by tourists in B&NES in 2014.
  • It was estimated that in 2014 in B&NES 9,213 people were employed in tourism.

What does the data say?

Tourism plays a key role in the economy of Bath and North East Somerset. Despite challenging market conditions, Bath and North East Somerset has bucked the national and regional trend and seen visitor numbers increase in recent years.  1

Domestic and Inbound Tourism 

In 2014 there were 969,900 overnight tourist visits to Bath & North East Somerset and 4.8 million day visitors. Almost £411 million was spent by tourists in B&NES in 2014.2

Domestic tourism3

Between 2008-10 there were approximately 650,000 domestic (UK resident) overnight trips taken in Bath & North East Somerset annually (three year average, 2008 – 2010). 

Average length of stay between 2008-10 was 2.3 nights and the average spend per trip was £188.

For England as a whole, the average length of stay was 3 nights, average spend per trip, £167.

Table 1: Domestic Tourism in Bath & North East Somerset

 

2006-08

2007-09

2008-10

Trips (000)

686

631

648

Nights (000)

1,647

1,594

1,489

Spend (£m)

125

116

122

Overall, numbers of domestic trips into Bath and North East Somerset as well as length of stay and average spend has decreased from 2006 to 2010.

In 2014 12% of UK visitors to B&NES came from the South West, 6% from London, 4% from B&NES and 52% from elsewhere in the UK.4

Business Tourism, mostly generated from the South West, also makes a significant contribution to Bath’s visitor economy.5

Inbound Tourism (overseas visitors)

In 2015 the City of Bath ranked 12th in the VisitBritain ranking of top cities/towns for international staying visitors. There were 323,000 international visitors to Bath in 2015, a 36.8% increase compared to 2014 when there were 236,000.6

Between 2008-10 the average length of stay for inbound visitors was 4.7 nights, and the average spend per trip was £296.7

Internationally, the US remains a key inbound market for Bath and North East Somerset although the European territories of Germany, France and Ireland also remain strong, while Australia and the Far East are increasingly important and present major growth potential. 8

Day Visitors 

There were 4.8 million day visitors to B&NES in 2014.9

The 2011 Great Britain Day Visits Survey estimated that Bath & North East Somerset attracted 6.66 million day visits in 2011, with total spend amounting to £221.73 million. Detailed visitor information is not available at this local level but at a national level, visiting friends/relatives was the main activity for 27% of visits. The next most popular activities were going out for a meal (10%), going on a night out (10%) and undertaking outdoor activities (8%).  Average claimed distance travelled for all UK destinations was 42 miles.  Average spend per tourism day visit was £34.10

Tourism Employment

It was estimated that in 2014 in B&NES 9,213 people were employed in tourism.11


Historic England Heritage Information12

Historic England carries out a number of studies into the historic environment at a national, regional and local authority level:

  • Heritage Counts - analyses a series of indicators which provide an insight into the state of the historic environment. In most cases, these indicators have been collected since 2002, providing over 10 years of trend data.

Click here to see the 2016 Heritage Counts reports

  • The Heritage Economic Impact Indicator Workbook - an interactive Excel-based workbook that estimates the national and regional economic impact of the heritage sector.

Click here to see The Heritage Economic Impact Indicator Workbook 2016

  • Local Authority Profiles - are comprehensive datasets and information on the historic environment for each local authority in England.

Click here to see the Local Authority Profiles 2016


Visitor Attractions 13

Bath

 

Bath is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Bath is widely recognised as a premier city break destination both domestically and in key overseas markets. VisitEngland, the national tourism body, has endorsed this. However, York, Oxford and Chester rank higher than Bath as contemporary destinations. 14

 

Bath Tourism Plus states that Bath holds greatest appeal for independently minded and traditionally orientated visitors, as well as older age groups. However, Bath’s appeal also extends to the younger, higher spending, fashion conscious visitor. 15

In 2015 there were approximately 1 million visitors to the Roman Baths, 398,319 to the Abbey, 157,851 to the Victoria Art Gallery and 90,147 to the Fashion Museum. 

In 2014 there were about 125,000 visitors to the Jane Austen Centre and 65, 000 to No. 1 Royal Crescent. 16

The top ten visitor attractions in Bath, together attracted over 2 million visitors in 2011. Between 2007-2011 the number of visits to attraction has increased by 25%.  This growth occurred largely between 2010 and 2011 when visits increased by 18%.  The most significant increases (in percentage terms) came from The Holbourne Museum of Art (following major re-development), Horseworld, the American Museum and Bath Abbey.

Table 3: Major Visitor Attractions

Attraction

Adult Admission Charge

Visitor Numbers (2011)

Roman Baths

£12.25

975,096

Bath Abbey

£2.50 donation

394,387

Fashion Museum

£7.50

129,184

Victoria Art Gallery

Free

110,498

The Holbourne Museum of Art

Free  (Exhibs £6.50)

110,105

Horseworld

£7.15

93,248

Sally Lunns

Free

86,974

The Jane Austin Centre

£7.45

61,589

No 1 Royal Crescent

£6.50

52,718

American Museum

£9.00

52,988

While Bath’s performance has fared comparatively well, in recent years visitors are spending less per head. 17

Thermae Bath Spa - In 2015 62% of visitors to Thermae Bath Spa stated that the Spa was ‘their main reason for visiting Bath.The additional spend in the Bath local economy in 2015 as a result of visits to Thermae Bath Spa was £12.67 million.18

Seasonality19

There is a clear seasonal visitor and accommodation peak in the summer months, particularly for attractions. July and August together account for 27% of annual visits to attractions.  Accommodation occupancy is more evenly spread throughout the year, although with January to March standing out as being a quiet period. In total there are 424 accommodation providers in Bath, providing stock of over 9,000 bed spaces.

 

Figure 2: Visits to Bath Attractions 2011


 

What does the community say?

 

The Bath Visitor Survey - Visitor Profile

The Bath Visitor Survey, conducted between June and September 2010, provides a wealth of information on visitor characteristics.  Some selected points are given below, together with reference to equivalent all-England figures if available from the GB Tourism Survey 2010.

  • 36% of visitors to Bath were aged 55+; 18% were aged 65+. By comparison, for tourism trips in England as a whole, 28% were aged 55+; 13% were aged 65+
  • 60% of visitors to bath were in the ABC1 social grade categories.  The equivalent England percentage was 70%.
  • 89% were in adult only groups.
  • Somerset, Wiltshire and London are the main sources of visitors to Bath.
  • 84% were visiting for leisure/holiday purposes. In England as a whole, 64% of tourists were travelling for leisure/holidays.
  • 58% were on a repeat visit

Destination Marketing Strategy for Bath and North East Somerset 2012-14  20

 

Research informing The Destination Marketing Strategy for Bath and North East Somerset 2012-14 indicates that on the whole those who visit have a very positive view of Bath with few negatives:

Positives

  • That Bath is beautiful and historic with strong cultural and heritage appeal
  • It is a relaxing place to spend time.

Negatives

  • Bath is relatively expensive

What can we realistically change?

Destination Marketing Strategy for Bath and North East Somerset 2012-14 21

The Destination Marketing Strategy for Bath and North East Somerset 2012-14 outline targets to:

  • Grow domestic and overseas overnight visitors by 9%,
  • Grow the value of the day visitor market by 12%
  • Grow the number of visitor nights spent in Bath by 10%
  • Boost the value of domestic overnight visitors by 12%
  • Grow the value of high spending international visitor market by 12% - focusing on the US and Europe plus selected emerging leisure markets such as China and Asia.
  • Grow business tourism by 9% .