About Bristol's Tourism Economy

Bristol’s tourism economy is worth in excess of £1.4bn and supports in excess of 29,000 jobs.

Each year, Visit Bristol commission a small amount of research as well as using research either available publically through VisitBritain, or through the purchase of independent reports.  More information about these can be found further down this page.

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Volume and Value of Tourism

We annually commission a ‘Volume and Value of Tourism’ report which covers the administrative boundaries of Bristol and South Gloucestershire and so these are reported as one total.

Due to the complex process of constructing the reports, these are generally released in the Autumn of the following year.  So the next published report later in 2020 will be the 2019 report. 

The measure of the tourism economy relies on national data that is then used to develop an Economic Impact Report, considering hotel occupancy and key visitor trends to ensure a better understanding of the market during the year. In 2019, in partnership with the University of the West of England, Visit Bristol is also conducting more detailed visitor research using surveys completed online and in person.

The report for 2018 shows 2.1 million domestic staying trips (visitors from the rest of the UK staying overnight), spending an average of £168 per trip. Domestic overnight visitors stay an average of 2.26 nights. Day visitors to the region number 20.5 million, and have an average spend of £39.07 in Bristol and £37.66 in South Gloucestershire.

International Visitors 2018

The International Passenger Survey (IPS) data for 2018 shows Bristol has seen its second highest number of international staying trips ever with 598,000 taking place in 2018. The IPS consolidates Bristol’s position of 7th most visited town or city in the UK by international visitors and shows that international trips are staying longer and spending more, meaning the value of overseas visitors is the highest it has ever been at £203.71million, an average spend per visit of £341.

Using the IPS data as a benchmark, Bristol’s top five international markets by estimated total trips are (in order) Spain, Germany, Republic of Ireland, France and the Netherlands. Two long-haul markets, USA and Australia, feature in the top 10.

While the number of overall trips dropped by 0.7% between 2017 and 2018, length of stay went up as did overall spend. Ultimately, visitors are staying longer and spending more, so the economic impact of international visitors has grown substantially.

As figures include those travelling to visit friends and relatives, for business and other activities, we are thrilled that holiday visitors appear to be at their highest ever level. 

Using the IPS data as a benchmark, Bristol’s top 10 international markets by volume are (in order): 

  1. Spain
  2. Germany
  3. Ireland
  4. France
  5. Netherlands
  6. USA
  7. Poland
  8. Italy
  9. Australia
  10. Belgium

More detail can be found on our corporate blog post: Bristol's International Market - 2018 data

Volume and value of Business Events

As well as measuring the volume and value of the visitor economy, Meet Bristol also commissions specific research looking at the volume and value of the conference and meetings sector. In 2018, there were an estimated 29,700 business events held at Bristol venues. These generated an estimated 1.7million delegates accounting for nearly 2.6m event days. The estimated spend by delegates on venues and in destination is £307m. In addition to business events, venues in Bristol hosted approximately 5,000 social banqueting events in 2018. These events generated an estimated 588,000 visits to Bristol and £22m of spend at venues. The Meet Bristol Convention Bureau, part of Destination Bristol, works to secure domestic and international events business for venues in the city.

Useful links to more research



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