Attractions industry news

29 Sep 2016

English heritage worth £21.7bn to UK

England’s heritage sector has been valued at £21.7bn (US$28.2m, €25.2m), generating £18.4bn (US$23.9bn, €21.3bn) in tourism expenditure annually for the UK.

Heritage and the Economy 2016 – an annual study by Historic England – collates data from a number of studies on heritage and economic activity. The study also introduces the Heritage Economic Impact Indicator Workbook (HEII) – an Excel-based interactive workbook that estimates national and regional economic impact of the heritage sector.

According to the study, in 2013, heritage directly generated £10bn (US$13bn, €11.6bn) in gross value added (GVA) in England. Using the HEII, estimated heritage contribution to GVA increases to £21.7bn.

London is the most valuable region in terms of heritage GVA, with the capital valued at £5.45bn (US$7bn, €6.3bn). Southern regions are significantly more valuable than the north, with the South East, South West and East of England worth £3.18bn (US$4.13bn, €3.68bn), £2.68bn (US$3.48bn, €3.1bn) and £2.64bn (US$3.43bn, €3bn) respectively. By contrast in the north, the North East of England is valued at £1bn (US$1.3bn, €1.15bn), the North West £1.99bn (US$2.58bn, €2.3bn) and the Yorkshire and Humber Region £1.64bn (US$2.13bn, €1.89bn).

As the value of the heritage sector in England has increased, so has the workforce. According to the HEII, the number of direct heritage jobs in England has increased from 164,100 in 2013 to 328,700 in 2016. Following GVA trends, the south also supports a larger heritage workforce, with 66,300 employed in London compared to 18,700 in the North East.

In total, domestic and international heritage-related visits generate £18.4bn in expenditure in England, contributing £11bn (US$14.3bn, €12.7bn) in GDP and supporting 285,700 jobs. According to the study, if indirect effects are included, the GDP figure rises to £24.2bn (US$31.4bn, €28bn). According to the HEII, 22 per cent of all tourist spending can be attributed to heritage tourism.

In 2015, the UK was ranked fifth out of 50 nations in terms of being rich in historic buildings and monuments, and sixth for cultural heritage. Britain’s heritage has traditionally been a big draw for inbound tourism, which the study says is more popular in the UK than the rest of Europe.

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