Value of Music Tourism to the UK Economy Revealed

A new report by UK Music identified 6.5 million music loving tourists who generated £2.2 billion while attending UK festivals and concerts in 2012.

The study “Wish You Were Here” reveals that tourists at live music events add billions to the UK economy and motivate Britain-wide travel stimulating regional economies.  Nearly three-quarters (72%) of music tourism happened outside London. The Stone Roses gig, Heaton Park, generated over £20 million for the Manchester economy.  An example of how music tourism is driving local economic recovery.  

The “Wish You Were Here” report shows that music tourism not only generates a big cash injection to local economies but it creates and supports over 24,000 jobs.

VisitBritain’s ambition is to attract a total of 40 million overseas visitors by 2020.  UK Music is committed to working with VisitBritain and other Government agencies to ensure that we get a similar increase in music tourists.

We call on Government to adopt a Music Tourism Strategy and start developing joined-up policies with us to help exploit this economic advantage.   Government should be driving our economic recovery with its strongest hand, of which music must be one finger, and music tourism a second.

“Wish You Were Here” reveals:

  • Direct spend by music tourists – buying tickets, paying for transport and accommodation – was worth £1.3 billion
  • Further indirect music tourism spend – additional spending along the supply chain generated by music tourists – adds a further £914m, making a total spend of £2.2bn
  • The average live music audience is comprised of 41% music tourists
  • Music tourists from overseas spend, on average, £910 while attending festivals and £602 while attending concerts (average tourist spend is £600)
  • Domestic music tourists spend, on average, £396 while attending festivals and £87 while attending concerts
  • Overseas tourists account for 6% of music tourism visits but account for 20% of the spending

UK Music CEO Jo Dipple said: “It’s clear our music industry is doing a great job for the British economy, encouraging 6.5 million tourists who generated £2.2 billion last year. Music tourism created over 24,000 jobs. Just think what we might achieve with policies that specifically target the music tourist in this country and abroad? Our opportunities are limitless. Consider the record demand for Glastonbury 2014. The love of music is a powerful driver for growth.” 

Paul Latham COO Live Nation International Music said: “Wish You Were Here” can hopefully persuade the powers that be that music is already a powerful tourism tool that is generating more than £2bn in spending and boosting local economies all over this country. Imagine what could be achieved with a little more backing and support from our friends in Westminster.”

VisitBritain CEO Sandie Dawe commented: “This report confirms that the UK’s music scene has significant international appeal and that music tourists spend lots of money and travel across the whole of Britain. This will act as a catalyst for us all to ramp up our activity and forge better relationships with festival organisers, promoters, venues and producers to raise awareness of our amazing music scene across the world.”

Brit award winner and GREAT ambassador Jessie J added: “Music for me is the only global language. It’s such a huge thing for Britain to have strong live music, making our mark as performers across the world.

“I see international visitors at my gigs all the time waving their flags. Fans that have dedicated their time and money so I try to give them all that I have every performance. I love the thought of them going back to their home towns across the world with that lasting memory of me performing on stage.”

The new UK Music and VisitBritain study follows a recent and sustained spike in interest around music tourism. Over the summer many senior politicians, including Prime Minister David Cameron, creative minister Ed Vaizey and shadow minister for culture Dan Jarvis, referred to the music industry’s potential for attracting overseas visitors to events such as Glastonbury and Bestival. 

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey MP said: “Music is without question an essential element of Britain’s tourism appeal, and it is this ability of the UK’s music industry to attract tourists from near and far to our shores that is celebrated in this report.  The huge financial contribution to the UK economy by the millions of music tourists to the UK annually makes it very clear that when combined, the music and tourism industries are powerful drivers for growth.”

Wish You Were Here - Music Tourism Report 2013.pdf

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