Tuesday 09 September 2014

· VisitBritain to shift perceptions of Britain’s culture and heritage across the world

· New report launched today at Tate Britain will bring tourism industry together

· Culture and heritage worth £7bn to UK economy in 2013 (one third of total inbound spend)

The ‘Leveraging our Heritage and Culture’ report, produced by market research agency hpi, will determine current global perceptions of our culture and heritage and look at how we can evolve our marketing to entice even more visitors, both repeat and first timers. The report is the result of detailed research conducted amongst 1,500 respondents across Britain’s three largest tourism source markets – the USA, Germany and France.

Britain’s culture and heritage, a £7bn industry supporting 100,000 jobs, encompasses a broad range of attractions and locations and will always be one of Britain’s core exports. Previous research shows that perceptions of Britain’s culture are high, ranking fourth for culture and fifth for historic buildings out of fifty nations, in an opinion poll conducted by the Nation’s Brand Index last year. Britain also ranks highly for the competitiveness of our cultural resources, coming third in this respect in the World Economic Forum’s ranking of 140 countries.

According to the international passenger survey, of the 33 million visitors to Britain last year, half included a trip to a museum, around 40% visited a castle and just over one quarter enjoyed an art gallery.

The research findings reported in ‘Leveraging our Heritage and Culture’ show that we already perform well on tangible and rational heritage and that over half (53%) of respondents state culture and heritage as their main motive for visiting Britain, with 73% of French and 70% of Germans agreeing. The interpretation of culture was broad, with respondents saying they wanted an experience that was unique to the destination, with 82% wanting to absorb Britain’s culture and heritage through ‘local markets’ and 81% via ‘local food and drink’. This came above ‘architecture’ (69%), ‘castles’ (68%) and ‘natural beauty’ (78%). Out of seven markets, Britain ranked second for ‘historic buildings’, pipped to the post by Italy.

The report also highlighted that there is a clear thirst for more information about how to explore more of Britain’s culture and heritage with suggestions of heritage-specific itineraries, based on different themes and regions of Britain. They also suggested more information on how to get around the country and what to see outside of London would be beneficial. However, upon reviewing visitbritain.com and Lovewall, they said that both these platforms performed excellently and offered a great planning tool for their trip around Britain.

Launching the report, VisitBritain’s Chairman, Christopher Rodrigues, said: “Culture and heritage is already one of our global strengths in the competitive world of international tourism.

“It is crucial to understand how people connect with our culture and the key motivations that make them choose Britain. Working together with our colleagues in the cultural sector we can ensure our messaging remains inspirational to a global audience, grow Britain’s fifth largest export – tourism – and deliver jobs and growth across the UK.”

Bernard Donoghue, Director at Association of Leading Visitor Attractions added: "This fascinating research confirms what our overseas visitors most love about us - our heritage, history, culture, arts and the way we tell those stories. Overseas visitors to the UK know that nothing beats immersing yourself in the authenticity of our historic sites and standing on the very spots that have influenced world literature, film, theatre, history and art."

For more information contact:

VisitBritain Media Team


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