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Visitor Economy

About the Visitor Economy

The Bristol and South Gloucestershire tourism economy is worth  £1.3bn annually and supports almost 29,000 jobs.

Each year, Destination Bristol commission research relating to the visitor economy.  This tends to focus on the volume and value of the industry, covering both the wider visitor economy and specifically looking at the conference and meetings industry. Research is also undertaken relating to visitors and a new programme will commence in 2019 in partnership with the University of the West of England.

The Volume and Value of Tourism

We commission an annual ‘Volume and Value of Tourism’ report from an independent research company.  This is gives us information about tourism in the administrative boundaries of Bristol and South Gloucestershire and 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, complete 2018 data will not be available until late autumn 2019.

Overnight trips

The report for 2018 tells us the following:

  • Estimated total domestic staying trips:         2m
  • Estimated total international staying trips:   620,000
  • Total staying trips:                                     2.65m

While the total number of trips are slightly lower than in 2017, the number of nights stayed increased by 5%, so visitors are staying longer.  This is most likely linked to the increase in international visitors who stay longer as well as a slight increase in the length of stay by domestic visitors.

In Bristol, overseas visitors average 6.38 nights per trip, with an average spend per night of £55 – an average spend per trip of £350.

Domestic staying visitors average 2.25 nights per trip, with an average spend per night of £76 – an average spend per trip of £171.00

Please note that staying visits does not mean that all stays were in hotels.  This also accounts for those staying with friends and family and other forms of accommodation.

Day Visitors

  • Estimated total day visits                          17.94m

Day visitors have an average spend per trip of £40.60

  • The value of the Visitor Economy in Bristol and South Gloucestershire was £1.3bn
  • Total tourism supported business turnover is estimated at £1.77bn
  • Tourism accounts for an estimated 28,920 actual jobs – 21,545 FTE

Business turnover arises as a result of tourist spending, from the purchase of supplies and services locally by businesses in receipt of visitor spending and as a result of the spending of wages in businesses by employees whose jobs are directly or indirectly supported by tourism spending.

More information is available on request or Destination Bristol members can access more information from the Member’s Area. Find out more about membership here.

Destination Bristol produce a monthly business barometer reporting on visitor numbers and occupancy in the local area, produced using a relatively high sample and therefore giving a relatively robust report.

More details are available on request and new participants are welcome.

International Visitors 2017

The International Passenger Survey has now been published for 2017 and Bristol has seen the highest number of international visits than ever before at 602,000 making it the 7th most visited town or city in the UK by international visitors. IPS data is usually released during the summer months following the year of visits.

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

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

Conference, social and business events - 2017

Results from 2017 reveal a slight downturn in conferences and meetings business in Bristol. This reflects national pattern – where levels of conference business were also down.
In line with national trends there was a contraction in the number of conferences and meetings in Bristol in 2017. The number was below 2016 levels but on a par with 2015. Expenditure was more resilient – slightly below 2016 levels but above 2015.

The number of social banquets was up slightly.

Volume and value of Business Events


• In 2017, there were an estimated 32.1k business events at Bristol venues. These generated an estimated 1.9 million delegates accounting for nearly 2.8m event days.
• The estimated spend by delegates on venues and in destination was estimated at £320m.
Volume and value of Social Banqueting Events
• In addition to business events, venues in Bristol hosted an estimated 5100 social banqueting events in 2017.
• These events generated an estimated 504k visits in Bristol. Approximately, two fifths of these (37%) were staying in the area.
• The estimated value of social banqueting events to venues was £14.2m.

Dimensions of the Events Market


Number of events


• There was an average of 369 events per venue in Bristol in 2017.
Levels of residential / non-residential business
• Most of conference business (70%) was day visiting (i.e. non-staying). About 16% of Bristol event business was residential at the event venue with a further 13% staying in the wider destination.


Event Duration


• The average event duration was 1.5 days. Most events (71%) lasted a day or less.

Useful links to more research

https://www.visitbritain.org/england-research-insights

https://www.visitbritain.org/inbound-research-insights

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