Local tourism industries generate over 6% of the region’s total economic output

According to an analysis by the Tourism Intelligence Unit at Office for National Statistics, the economic output (‘GVA’) generated by West Midlands-based tourism businesses accounts for a relatively small proportion of overall regional GVA (6.2%) compared to other parts of the UK such as the South West (8.9%) and the North West (8.3%). However, given that under some definitions of the tourism sector (such as the narrower, DCMS definition used in our Culture & Prosperity report), tourism industries appear less important to West Midlands economic output, this new paper may cause a shift in perception to a certain extent.

Boeing 777 on runway at Birmingham AirportIndeed, the paper (and its definition of the tourism sector) may trigger a reassessment of the importance of tourism to the national economy generally. For example, the finding that tourism contributes 7.1% of all GVA in the UK contrasts with a recent study commissioned by VisitBritain, which suggests the visitor economy directly generates 4.0% of UK GDP.

Notes: GVA and GDP measures are different and therefore not directly comparable, but in this instance, it was deemed useful to compare the two studies to explore different assessments of tourism contribution to the overall economy.

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Photo by Martin O’Connell

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Tweets, whistles and gold: an overview of the Cultural Research Conference 2010

The first Cultural Research & Intelligence Network (CRAIN) conference took place on 2nd June 2010 at Birmingham City University (School of Art) in central Birmingham.

The conference was well attended, attracting 41 delegates who between them represented 26 different organisations (including five local authorities and four local universities).

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Consumers choose to spend their cash on cultural attractions when the going gets tough according to West Midlands Cultural Observatory

They said it would happen and according to research published this week by the West Midlands Cultural Observatory it is happening: the recession has caused consumers to be more selective about what cultural products and services they spend their cash on.

Evidence cited in the latest recession paper suggests that over the Spring and Summer months, people have been saving money on accommodation, but continuing to spend on visits to cultural attractions such as museums, historic houses and visitor attractions when visiting in the region.

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How is the West Midlands cultural sector performing during the recession?

Ironbridge with views of Telford townEconomic research launched in March 2009 by the West Midlands Cultural Observatory has helped to shed light on how the region’s cultural and creative sector is performing during the current economic downturn — an area which has not been the subject of sustained research in the past.

The economic snapshot paper (Word, 306KB) includes the results of a small scale survey which explores how levels of visitors and revenue have been affected in cultural venues such as museums, arts centres and visitor attractions.

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Birmingham boasts tourism boost

Marketing Birmingham released their Annual Visitor Survey 2007 earlier this week.

The research, carried out in August and September last year, indicate that a record 31.9 million people visited the city for leisure in 2007. A resulting £4.4 billion was spent in the city as a result.

The number of visitors was a 1.5 million increase on the previous year, with increases in spending seen in most sectors. Wining and dining proved particularly popular with a reported £55 million increase in spending compared with 2006, but the survey found that it was the retail sector that outperformed others with a £242m increase.

When asked their favourite aspect of the city, it was the city’s canals that proved to be the most popular with just over 20% of respondents saying that the waterways were Birmingham’s best selling point.

The full report includes visitor profiles, data on accommodation, eating out, shopping, leisure and transport. Further data on tourism in the city and the region is available on Marketing Birmingham’s research pages.