As English Tourism Week begins, VisitEngland, the national tourist board has announced findings from the first survey of its kind on the importance of day visits to the domestic tourism industry.
The survey, conducted in 2011, in partnership with the national tourist boards of Wales and Scotland, shows GB residents took 1.5 billion tourism day trips in the UK spending £54 billion.
In England, Brits took 1.3 billion trips, spending £44 billion.
Total visitor tourism spend in England by domestic and overseas visitors amounts to over £70 billion, with day visits alone making up a key component of that figure.
On average, day visitors in England spend £34 per trip, however this varies according to the type of activity.
Those taking a ‘special shopping’ trip spend on average £113 per trip, while at the other end of the scale those people visiting friends and family spend an average of £18 per trip.
Visiting friends and family (350 million trips), going out for meals and drinks (together, 250 million) were most popular reasons for day trips with outdoor activities following close behind with 102 million days out (worth £2.4 billion).
Shopping also featured in the top ten reasons, with 74 million trips taken last year (worth £8.3 billion), followed by 66 million trips visiting attractions (worth £2.4 billion) and 48 million trips taken to watch live sporting events (worth £1.8 million). 35 million trips were also taken to attend special public events (worth £1.7 million).
James Berresford, VisitEngland’s chief executive, said: “This survey represents a very important piece of the domestic tourism jigsaw.
“Day visits are enormously important to the industry and the British economy and represent the cornerstone of the tourism industry in this country.
“English Tourism Week kicks off what promises to be a great year marked by amazing events such as the Torch Relay, The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Cultural Festival.
“This is the year to take a day trip that you will never forget!”
Not surprisingly London came out on top in terms of a regional breakdown with 273 million day visits with the south-east (201 million), north-west (173 million), the south-west (141 million) and Yorkshire and the Humber (139 million) following behind the capital city.
Last week, VisitEngland launched a new website which has thousands of offers on accommodation, meals, attractions, transport and events of 20.12 per cent or better – ensuring affordable day trips are available throughout the whole country.
Also today, to coincide with English Tourism Week, the UK and Europe’s biggest visitor attraction operator, Merlin Entertainments has linked VisitEngland to launch their first ever joint marketing campaign.
The £600,000 campaign kicks off today and will run on air for three weeks with a schedule which will include 20 second peak time TV ads; e-shots; and online advertising to target social networking and influential blog sites; supported by national and local PR activity all aimed at encouraging consumers to visit.
The VisitEngland and Merlin Entertainments activity will highlight a 25 per cent discount on the Standard Merlin Annual Pass, a promotion developed especially for the campaign.
The Merlin Annual Pass gives 12 months access to all Merlin’s 25 iconic English attractions (which will increase to 26 with the opening of an observation tower in Weymouth in time for the Olympic yachting crowds to enjoy); as well as other offers in the four hotels Merlin has across three of their Resort Theme Parks.