Olympic year for tourism in West Oxfordshire
Latest figures reveal that tourism-related spending in West Oxfordshire rose by 3% in 2012, with the District seeing the highest increase in the county.
Tourism spending increased from £260.4m in 2011 to £268.2m in 2012, the year of the London Olympics.
The figures 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.
According to the study, the number of visitors to the District also increased in 2012 - up by 140,000 compared to the previous year, bringing the total number of visitor trips to 4.28 million.
There were increases in the number of day trips (3.6% rise) as well as overnight stays (2.5% rise), with a rise in spending in both of these areas. There was a small decline in the number of overseas visitors staying in the District, however spend in this category rose by 3.3%.
Tourism-related jobs across the District remained at 4,800, accounting for around 10% of the District’s workforce.
The latest increases follow a continuing rise in tourism figures for West Oxfordshire. In the five years from 2008 to 2012 spending rose by £36.2m, up from £232m – an increase of 15.6%.
Cllr Richard Langridge, Cabinet Member with responsibility for tourism at West Oxfordshire District Council, said: “We are absolutely delighted that these latest figures show an increase in both spending and visitors to our District. Of course the Olympics will have had an effect on tourism in 2012, but we have been on an upward trend in West Oxfordshire in recent years and it is great to see this continuing, especially given the difficulties in the UK economy.
“I cannot stress enough how important tourism is to West Oxfordshire and it is great to see from this study that the increases are in line with our strategy of ensuring the District is a must-see destination, and getting visitors to stay longer and spend more.”
West Oxfordshire District Council works to encourage tourism in West Oxfordshire, promoting the area under the brand of the ‘Oxfordshire Cotswolds’, supporting local businesses and operating Visitor Information Centres in Burford and Witney.
The Council also produces a Visitor Guide and other specialist publications – including a recently launched Downton Abbey leaflet featuring local film locations – and represents the District at both national and international tourism events.
More than half (55%) of West Oxfordshire’s overnight visitors in 2012 stayed in ‘serviced’ accommodation, including hotels and bed and breakfasts, while 16% stayed in ‘non-serviced’ accommodation such as self-catering, camping and caravanning, with 29% staying with friends or relatives.
For more information about the Council’s work on tourism, visit its dedicated www.oxfordshirecotswolds.org website or call 01993 861561.
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