Bristol and South Gloucestershire tourism economy worth £1.4bn

Leisure & Tourism | Reports | South West
Bristol international balloon fiesta from harbourside

The visitor economy in the Bristol region is one of the biggest in the UK. According to new research data compiled by Destination Bristol, the tourism economy in the Bristol and South Gloucestershire region is worth £1.4bn a year and supports over 29,000 jobs.

Total tourism-supported turnover is worth an estimated £1.85bn to local businesses. And the value of the economy and the number of visitors has risen since the last figures were available this time last year.

Destination Bristol commissions an annual ‘Volume and Value of Tourism’ report from an independent research company. This is gives information about tourism in the administrative boundaries of Bristol and South Gloucestershire and are reported as one total.

The measure of the tourism economy relies on national data that is then used to develop an Economic Impact Report, considering hotel occupancy and key visitor trends to ensure a better understanding of the market during the year. In 2019, in partnership with the University of the West of England, Destination Bristol is also conducting more detailed visitor research using surveys completed online and in person.

The report for 2018 shows 2.1 million domestic staying trips (visitors from the rest of the UK staying overnight), spending an average of £168 per trip. Domestic overnight visitors stay an average of 2.26 nights. Day visitors to the region number 20.5 million, and have an average spend of £39.07 in Bristol and £37.66 in South Gloucestershire.

In addition, the International Passenger Survey (IPS) data for 2018 shows Bristol has seen its second-highest number of international staying trips ever with 598,000 taking place in 2018. The IPS consolidates Bristol’s position of seventh most visited town or city in the UK by international visitors and shows that international trips are staying longer and spending more, meaning the value of overseas visitors is the highest it has ever been at £203.71m, an average spend per visit of £341.

Using the IPS data as a benchmark, Bristol’s top five international markets by estimated total trips are (in order) Spain, Germany, Republic of Ireland, France and the Netherlands. Both USA and Australia feature in the top 10.

Visit Bristol’s Head of Tourism, Kathryn Davis said: “It is exciting to see the value of the visitor economy in Bristol and South Gloucestershire continue to grow. The data shows us that visitors are staying longer than before, which is one of our key objectives and the value of international visits is the highest it has ever been.  While the value of domestic trips remains similar to that in 2017, the number of visits of both those staying and those doing day trips continues to grow.”

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