A new report released into the size of the music tourism industry, by UK Music and Visit Britain, has identified that 6.5 million music loving tourists attended a festival or gig last year, generating spend of £2.2 billion in the process. The study, conducted by Oxford Economics, reveals that tourists at live music events not only add billions to the UK economy but offer astounding regional tourism benefits, motivating Britain-wide travel. Music tourism provides a massive boost to the UK’s nations, regions and local economies, including at least 24,000 jobs each year.
The Wish You Were Here report demonstrates the incredible pulling power of live music and its potential to fuel tourism throughout the country. VisitBritain’s ambition is to attract a total of 40 million overseas visitors by 2020, which music tourism will look to contribute more to over the coming years.
Wish You Were Here also reveals:
• Direct spend by music tourists – buying tickets, paying for transport and accommodation – was worth £1.3 billion
• Further indirect music tourism spend – additional spending along the supply chain generated by music tourists – adds a further £914m, making a total spend of £2.2bn
• The average live music audience is comprised of 41% music tourists
• Music tourists from overseas spend, on average, £910 while attending festivals and £602 while attending concerts (average tourist spend is £600)
• Domestic music tourists spend, on average, £396 while attending festivals and £87 while attending concerts
• Overseas tourists account for 6% of music tourism visits but a huge 20% of music tourism spend
• London attracts 28% of all music tourists to the UK, with 1.8m visiting the capital
In addition to calling for an overarching strategy to encourage more music fans from overseas, Wish You Were Here also suggests towns and cities should promote themselves by making more of their musical heritage – as Liverpool already does with The Beatles. It also recommends developing and extending the Music is GREAT component of VisitBritain’s already successful GREAT Britain You’re Invited campaign.
Paul Latham COO Live Nation International Music said: “Wish You Were Here” can hopefully persuade the powers that be that music is already a powerful tourism tool that is generating more than £2bn in spending and boosting local economies all over this country. Imagine what could be achieved with a little more backing and support from our friends in Westminster” and UK Music CEO Jo Dipple said: “It’s clear our music industry is doing a great job for the British economy, encouraging 6.5 million tourists who generated £2.2 billion last year. Music tourism created over 24,000 jobs. Just think what we might achieve with policies that specifically target the music tourist in this country and abroad? Our opportunities are limitless. Consider the record demand for Glastonbury 2014. The love of music is a powerful driver for growth” whilst Brit award winner and GREAT ambassador Jessie J added: “Music for me is the only global language. It’s such a huge thing for Britain to have strong live music, making our mark as performers across the world. “I see international visitors at my gigs all the time waving their flags. Fans that have dedicated their time and money so I try to give them all that I have every performance. I love the thought of them going back to their home towns across the world with that lasting memory of me performing on stage.”
The new UK Music and VisitBritain study follows a recent and sustained spike in interest around music tourism. Over the summer many senior politicians, including Prime Minister David Cameron, creative minister Ed Vaizey and shadow minister for culture Dan Jarvis, referred to the music industry’s potential for attracting overseas visitors to events such as Glastonbury and Bestival. Culture Minister Ed Vaizey MP said: “Music is without question an essential element of Britain’s tourism appeal, and it is this ability of the UK’s music industry to attract tourists from near and far to our shores that is celebrated in this report. The huge financial contribution to the UK economy by the millions of music tourists to the UK annually makes it very clear that when combined, the music and tourism industries are powerful drivers for growth.”
UK Music represents the UK’s commercial music industry. It provides research to inform policy to support songwriters, composers, artists, musicians, studio producers, music managers, music publishers, major and independent record labels, music licensing companies and the live music sector. VisitBritain is the national tourism agency, a non departmental public body, funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, responsible for promoting Britain worldwide and developing its visitor economy.