Yesterday marked the start of English Tourism Week, designed to raise the profile of the visitor economy and celebrate our people, places, and businesses. Traditionally, this marks the beginning of the tourism season, but a city like Bristol is a big destination for visitors throughout the year.
2019 was a record breaking year for Bristol’s visitor economy, valued at an estimated £1.1 billion. In 2021, this was £776 million, and we will know the results for 2022 later this year but it is clear that business has returned in a very different way after the pandemic, and that we are still missing some of our international visitors.
Whether people come for a day, a week, or longer, and whatever the reason they come, the investment into high street shopping and dining is quite phenomenal: spending almost £500 million during 2021, when the industry was only open for eight months. That’s supporting our amazing places, benefiting local people and communities.
Our aim is to ensure that the benefits of the visitor economy are distributed across Bristol. You will see boats, bridges, Brunel, and Banksy splashed across travel articles and social media, often being the hook inspiring new visits. However, there are some incredible walking tours outside of the city centre, that I guarantee will teach you something you didn’t already know. Boat trips, bike rides, museums, galleries, escape rooms, breweries, distilleries, cooking classes, clubs to dance in, sport to watch, and play, axes to throw, and music and food from every corner of the world.
Our local communities are critical to the success of our economy, so get involved. Use English Tourism week to do something different, discover a new place, see a new exhibition, and live like a tourist for a day. There are loads of ideas for all budgets at VisitBristol.co.uk for you, your family and friends, for now or to plan ahead.
There is a very particular term for this type of travel – Visiting Friends and Relatives or VFR. It’s really important and often overlooked, so every time you welcome someone to Bristol, you are doing your bit. Where do you take your family and friends?
Also often forgotten are those coming for business events. Even in the zoom world, we see people desperate to bring together teams whether locally, nationally, and globally, whether corporate, association, academic, or social. Often delegates will make the most of their stay by adding extra days to make the most of their time, getting to explore our local culture and heritage. Some bring their families too, turning a work trip into a holiday.
People visit Bristol for many reasons, and in this year of major anniversaries, not least 650 years of Bristol being an independent county, why not make the most of the incredible experiences on our doorstep and live life like a tourist.
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