Music tourists contribute at least £864m a year to the UK economy

DATE: 16 May 2011

UK Music publishes new research and calls for a “live music tourism strategy” to increase overseas visitor numbers.

UK Music has today (May 16th) published Destination: Music – the first study of its kind to scope the economic contribution of music festivals and major concerts to tourism throughout the UK.

Drawing on unprecedented access to more than 2.5m anonymised ticketing transactions, the report’s main findings are as follows:

  • Large-scale live music across all regions of the UK attracts at least 7.7m attendances by domestic and overseas music tourists
  • Collectively they spend £1.4bn during the course of their trip
  • This is a positive contribution of £864m (GVA) to the national economy and equivalent to 19,700 full-time jobs
  • Although 5% of all music tourists come from overseas, they contribute 18% of total music tourist spending

From these findings UK Music has issued a list of recommendations to Government – including the implementation of a national live music tourism strategy, with the immediate goal of increasing the number of overseas music tourists.

The research follows the Government’s Plan For Growth, published alongside the Budget. This specifically identified the UK’s creative industries and tourism amongst sectors with the greatest potential to drive economic growth.

The Government’s Tourism Strategy, published in March 2011, included a National Brand Index Survey which ranked the UK as fourth in the world for being an “interesting and exciting place for contemporary culture such as music, films, art and literature”.

Feargal Sharkey, Chief Executive of UK Music said: “I am hugely excited by the findings of this research. Its message is crystal clear: music provides a huge boost to UK tourism, it drives growth, it sustains thousands of jobs across all regions and it enhances our lives. I am optimistic that policy-makers will view this data and acknowledge there is even more we could achieve, especially when it comes to attracting overseas visitors. The rest of the world clearly recognises the importance of music to the UK. It is time we did similar.”

Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey said: “This report demonstrates the world-wide reputation the UK music sector enjoys and the contribution it makes to our economy.  People are travelling to and within the UK to see our musicians and bands perform while many overseas festivals feature British artists among their headline acts.  This underlines the fact that the UK music industry is one of the strongest in the world.”

Research on Destination Music was undertaken by Bournemouth University’s International Centre for Hospitality and Tourism Research.

Research leader, Professor Adam Blake said: “This is the first time that a comprehensive study of music tourism has ever been undertaken in the UK. The data on where music-goers come from confirms that large numbers of them do travel around the country to go to music events, and significant numbers come from overseas. However, it is important to note that our definition of a music tourist is hugely conservative, and that we did not analyse the vast numbers of non-ticketed or smaller capacity events.  Subsequently, the true value of music to UK tourism will be much higher.”

The full report can be downloaded below:

UK Music Research - Music and Tourism - Full Report.pdf

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