West Oxfordshire’s tourism industry continues to battle recession
Latest figures show that tourism-related spending in West Oxfordshire rose by 2% to £260.4 million in 2011, despite continuing economic difficulties across the UK.
The findings come from the latest annual Economic Impact of Tourism Study by Tourism South East, which provides services and expertise to support the performance and growth of the region’s tourism industry.
Nationally, there was a decrease in overseas visitor numbers and expenditure in 2011 - but West Oxfordshire saw growth in both areas, according to the study.
Just over 4.14 million visitors made trips to West Oxfordshire in 2011, similar to 2010. However, the number of day visitors increased by 1%, and overseas visitors increased by 2.6%. Across the whole of Oxfordshire, overseas visitors increased by only 0.8%.
Domestic and overseas staying visitors’ spend increased in the District by 4.3% - the biggest rise in the county. This falls in line with West Oxfordshire District Council’s tourism strategy, launched in 2009, to get visitors to stay longer and spend more to boost the District’s economy.
Spending by day-trippers to the District increased by 1.6%. Overnight stays accounted for 40% of what visitors spent, despite only representing 20% of visitor numbers. The average length of stay for both domestic and overseas visitors increased by 1.2%, compared to 2010.
Most visitors (52%) who stayed used serviced accommodation – for example hotels and bed and breakfasts. Non-serviced accommodation – including self-catering, camping and caravanning - accounted for 17%, with 31% staying with friends or relatives.
Tourism-related jobs across the district remained at 4,800. This accounted for 12.4% of the District’s overall workforce.
Cllr Richard Langridge, Cabinet Member for Local Ecomony, Communities and Culture, said: “We cannot say enough how important tourism is to West Oxfordshire’s economy and the latest figures from Tourism South East emphasises this even further.
“I am extremely pleased that visitor spending is rising in line with our strategy and that we as a Council remain committed to supporting this vital industry. The last few years have been tough for all local businesses and not least tourism businesses, and those involved in the industry should feel very proud that the study has found that West Oxfordshire is bucking the trend and continuing to do well during on-going, difficult economic times.”
The District Council supports the sector through investment in tourism services and development. This includes: operating Visitor Information Centres in Burford and Witney; promoting the District under the brand of the ‘Oxfordshire Cotswolds’, including a website www.oxfordshirecotswolds.org containing information about events and attractions; producing a visitor guide, attractions guide and other specialised publications; and representing the District at both national and international tourism events.
To find out more about tourism in West Oxfordshire and to view the Council’s Tourism Strategy visit www.westoxon.gov.uk/tourism. Alternatively, call 01993 861563.
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