Word count (2500-3000): 2937
The tourism industry is believed to be the world's largest industry, and as such, involves a vast array of public and private sector organisations. This assignment will look at the types of government organisations that structure the UK tourism industry.
It is important to look at the volume and value of the tourism industry first, so that the reader can appreciate the scope of tourism in the UK. Identifying the roles and policies of the public organisations, will show the nature of government involvement, and the section on VisitBritain will highlight the recent changes to tourism structure.
This will give the reader a broader picture of the UK tourist industry, and will allow an understanding of the motives behind government involvement, which will provide the focus for the next section.
The conclusion will highlight the areas studied in the assignment, and a give a brief summary as to its findings.
2. GOVERNMENT INVOLVEMENT IN UK TOURISM
2.1 The volume and value of tourism in the UK
Tourism can be defined as:
'The activities of persons travelling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business or other purposes' (World Tourism Organisation (WTO), 1991).
Therefore, we can ignore the common myth that 'tourism is only leisure holidays', and see that it also includes business travel, day trips, and visiting friends and relatives (VFR).
Many people also believe that tourism is only international, when in fact, 80% of all tourism in 2001 was domestic, and it contributed £26.1 billion to overall spending by UK residents. This figure was achieved through the 163.1 million trips made within the UK, most of which lasted one to three nights (www.staruk.org, visited 28/02/03). This tells us that most trips were for only a short period, and so can be said to be predominantly day visits.
Overseas visitors also provide a significant source of income to local economies and in 2001 they contributed £11.3 billion over 22.8 million trips. Although these figures seem significantly smaller than for domestic tourism in the same year, the average spending per trip was £160 for domestic tourism, and £489 for overseas visitors (www.staruk.org, visited 28/02/03). The reasons for the difference can be explained by the cost of travel (e.g. flights) and accommodation (the average length of stay was over 8 nights by overseas visitors). Recently released figures have shown a 36% increase in overseas visitors to 24.2 million in 2002, as well as a growth in spending to £11.8 billion (www.britishtouristauthority.org, released, 05/02/03). This shows the re-growth of this part of the industry after the sharp fall in 2001 as a result of the events of September 11th.
The size of these figures show how important tourism is to the UK in general, but it also seems appropriate to look at its impact on various areas within Britain.
2.1.2 The impact in regions of the UK
This section briefly focuses on two different parts of the UK, namely the South West of England, and Greater Glasgow & Clyde Valley in Scotland.
The South West Tourist Board deals with the seven counties in the area. It contains two National Parks (Dartmoor and Exmoor), covering 1.6 square kilometers of land. Tourism is high not only due to these national parks but because of various other attractions, including the Jurassic Coast of Dorset/East Dorset that was given World Heritage Site status in December 2001.
The attraction is proved by the 2001 figures that show the South West to attract: 14% of all domestic trips and 8% of overseas visits; 18% of all domestic night stays and 7% equivalent for overseas visitors; and the area received 16% of all the domestic tourism expe...