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Home of Banksy

Home of Banksy

Visitor Economy

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

The visitor economy in the Bristol region is one of the biggest in the UK.  To measure this we rely on national data that is then used to develop an Economic Impact report.  We also measure hotel occupancy and key visitor trends to ensure that we have a better understanding of the market during the course of the year.

As well as measuring the volume and value of the visitor economy as a whole, we also commission specific research looking at the volume and value of the conference and meetings sector. In 2019,  in partnership with the University of the West of England, we are also conducting more detailed visitor research using surveys completed on line and in person.

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, the complete 2018 data will not be available until autumn 2019.

However, details of international staying trips in 2018 is available now.

Volume and Value of Tourism - Full Report 2017

Overnight trips

The final report for 2017 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.

We produce a monthly business barometer reporting on visitor numbers and occupancy in the local area, produced using a proportionately high sample and therefore giving a relatively robust report. More details are available on request and new participants are welcome.

International Visitors 2018

The International Passenger Survey (IPS) data has now been published for 2018 and Bristol has seen its second highest number of international staying trips with 598,000 taking place in 2018, retaining the position of 7th most visited town or city in the UK by international visitors. 

While the number of trips overall fell by 0.7% (against a national average of -3.34% ) the number of staying nights increased by almost 7% (national average -6.5%)  and the total expenditure by nearly 2% (national average -6.6%)

This shows that international trips are staying longer and spending more.

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

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

More detail on the international markets 2018 data can be found on our corporate blog

In 2018, data for the Bristol UA area was as follows:

Number of visits - 597,830

-0.74% *

Total expenditure (GBP)- £203.71 m

+1.75% *

Total nights spent - 4.10 m

+6.72% *

Average length of stay (Nights) - 6.86

+7.55% *

Average spend per visit (GBP) - £341

+2.58% *

* Change from 2017

Conference, social and business events - 2017

(*NOTE - 2018 data is yet to be released (July 2019)

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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