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10th April 2013 Sara Lock

The importance of museums and heritage to tourism

By: Museums Association


This article provides an overview of how Museums play a crucial role in the success of UK tourism by attracting millions of international and domestic visitors. The figures bring together key data from multiple sources such as the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions, Visit Britain, Deloitte and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Museums are a great British success story. They play a crucial role in the success of UK tourism, attracting millions of international and domestic visitors. They showcase the best of the nation's history and culture to the widest possible audiences. They captivate visitors with objects that tell the stories of the world and offer a sense of place.

A golden period of sustained investment has seen museums improve their visitor offer and attract ever-greater numbers of tourists through their doors. Through the money they spend these museum visitors deliver economic benefits to local economies. Museums are good for business.

'Cultural and heritage attractions are very definitely a cornerstone of Britain's tourism offer and are experienced by tens of millions of Britons each year from all walks of life and parts of the country. It is therefore essential that not only are these 'products' maintained, cared for and further developed, but also that they continue to offer the visitor value for money and a quality experience'. Visit Britain

The tourist industry - general:

  • Tourism is the UK's fifth largest industry. The UK is one of the most popular destinations in the world, attracting 32 million overseas visitors each year. Similarly, British residents take well over 1 billion overnight trips and day visits each year.
  • In 2007 tourism was worth £114 billion, responsible for 2.65 million jobs, representing 8.2% of GDP
  • By 2009 tourism was worth £115.4 billion to the UK economy, equivalent to 8.9% of UK GDP. In 2009 tourism directly and indirectly supported one job in every twelve
  • It has been estimated that the tourism economy will grow by 2.6% a year between 2009 and 2018, a growth rate similar to the retail and construction industries

Download the resource to read more:
The importance of museums and heritage to tourism (PDF)

| Published:2013

Smart tags: tourism museum heritage economy