As I said yesterday, one of the interesting features of the Visit Britain report is the amount of money that is spent in different places. The figures will be an estimate of course, but they are as good a guide as we are likely to get. And what they show is intriguing. Take London for example. You would expect an overseas visitor to pay more there because it is a more expensive place. Hotels, public transport and restaurant bills will all be more expensive but the difference on how much is spent there compared to elsewhere in our countries is quite wide.
Take Wales. The average overseas visitor spends just £335 there compared to £577 in London. So 72% more revenue is coming into the London economy than in the Welsh economy. If the Welsh could persuade them to spend just £37 per head more to bring them up to the next lowest earning areas, the east of England and the West Midlands, they would generate nearly another £37 million for the Welsh economy. To achieve the same spend as overseas visitors to London splash out would produce another £240 million. If nothing else, these figures show how important overseas tourists are.
Only the northeast attracts fewer tourists than Wales but it does manage to get every one of them to spend £138 per head more. Why? Is the northeast more expensive to visit? Are the people who visit the northeast bigger spenders? So what is it that visitors do in the northeast that they don’t do in Wales? Shopping for a start. Is that because the Metro Centre in Gateshead attracts overseas visitors? Wales has nothing to compare. Visitor are almost 7 times more likely to visit a nightclub in the northeast than in Wales, Apart from that the visitor to Wales is pretty similar or beats the northeast visitor. They visit more castles, historic houses, galleries, parks and museums. But these things cost less to go to than you mind spends on a trip to the shops, a nightclub or a pub. That seems to be the difference. Wales needs more shoppers. And nightclubbers. And drinkers (I never thought I’d write that!)