Heritage and Tourism
The historic environment plays a major role in attracting domestic and international tourism. This in turn supports thousands of jobs and contributes to national and local economic growth.
More tourists plan to visit historic sites than go to museums, theatres or sports events. In 2014 there were at least 67 million visits to heritage sites in England.
On this page you can read the results of our research into the historic environment’s role in tourism:
Heritage tourism trend data
Since 2002 Historic England has collected data on visits to heritage attractions.
In partnership with Historic England, the National Trust, Historic Houses Association, Heritage Open Days and VisitEngland, visits data is available in the Public engagement spreadsheet, produced as part of Heritage Counts.
Using the data it is possible to observe trends in visits and the effects, if any, of events such as the recession or the Olympics.
Survey of visits to historic attractions
In 2014, there were at least 66.7 million visits to historic attractions in England according to research by VisitEngland on behalf of Historic England.
The research breaks down this figure in detail in the survey of visits to historic attractions publication, including:
- The origin of visitors (domestic/international)
- Type of attraction
- Visits by region
- Whether the attraction charges for admission, and admission charges
The research has also started to consider the way historic attractions are using social media and digital communications.
Economic impact of heritage tourism
Studies have shown that heritage tourism supports approximately 134,000 direct jobs and £5.1bn direct economic output. This research, conducted by Oxford Economics for the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) in 2013, is available from the Heritage Lottery Fund website.
The HLF have brought together their findings into a single publication: Investing in Success – Heritage and the UK tourism economy.
Historic England has produced a fact sheet with all the key figures relating to heritage and the economy, including tourism.
Also of interest...
Heritage Counts is the annual audit of England's heritage. It outlines changes in the sector and reports on indicators for the historic environment.
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