Tourism spending rise in West Oxfordshire
Latest figures show that tourism-related spending in West Oxfordshire rose by 3.3% to £232 million in 2008, despite the start of the UK-wide recession.
An Economic Impact of Tourism Study by Tourism South East, the official tourist board for the region, shows that annual tourism expenditure in the district increased in spite of the economy down-turning in the final quarter of the year.
The number of visitors to the district increased to 3.8 million, including day trips and overnight or longer stays. The number of overseas visitors dipped slightly, however expenditure by people visiting from overseas is shown to have increased.
The study also shows that 4,000 people were employed in the tourism sector in West Oxfordshire, including almost 3,000 full-time equivalent jobs.
Tourism plays an important role in West Oxfordshire’s economy and West Oxfordshire District Council supports the sector through investment in tourism services and development. This includes operating Visitor Information Centres in Burford, Witney and Woodstock.
The Council also works to promote the district under the brand of the ‘Oxfordshire Cotswolds’ and runs a website www.oxfordshirecotswolds.org containing information about events and attractions, as well as producing a visitor guide, attractions guide and other specialised publications, and representing the district at both national and international tourism events.
Cllr Hilary Biles, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Tourism and Health, said: “The tourism industry faced a severe threat when the economic downturn started in 2008 and there has undoubtedly been an impact across the country, and indeed globally. These latest figures for 2008 are extremely positive for West Oxfordshire. At the first sign of the downturn, the Council began increasing marketing activity and worked with local businesses to offer assistance wherever possible. This has continued throughout the recession and we remain committed to supporting the industry.”
As part of its commitment to tourism, the Council published a Tourism Strategy at the end of 2009 setting out how it plans to work with key organisations and local tourism businesses over the next 3 years to increase the contribution of tourism to the district’s economy. Key to this is encouraging visitors to stay longer and spend more.
To find out more about tourism in West Oxfordshire and to view the Tourism Strategy visit www.westoxon.gov.uk/tourism. Alternatively, call 01993 861080.
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