Music tourism’s £3.bn economic impact revealed

The enormous contribution that music tourism brings to the UK economy has been revealed in a recent study – Wish You Were Here 2015.

Between 2011 and 2014, music tourism numbers in the UK increased by 34%. In 2014, 9.5 million people travelled to music events, attending live concerts and festivals in the UK, which helped to generate £3.1bn pounds in direct and indirect spend.

In the past four years, there has been a 39% rise in overseas tourists travelling to British music events, each with an average spend of £751 going directly to UK businesses. This increase in music tourism provides a huge boost to employment throughout the country, with 38,238 full time jobs in 2014 sustained by music tourism in the UK. This marks a significant 57% increase from the 2012 figure of 24,521.

The report provides practical examples of some of the many events helping to support this fast-expanding industry, including Glastonbury, the Isle of Wight Festival, T in The Park and many more.

John Whittingdale, culture secretary commented: “It’s fantastic news that our music industry drew in 9.5 million tourists last year but it’s no surprise. British music is legendary around the world and continues to go from strength to strength, with UK artists now accounting for one in seven albums sold worldwide.

“Festivals like Glastonbury hold an iconic status on the world music scene and are one of the reasons why international tourism is booming in the UK, drawing in streams of visitors to all parts of the country. We know our UK creative industries contribute an astonishing £76.9 billion to the UK economy but this report confirms they are truly world-class and a powerful advert for the UK.”

UK Music chief executive, Jo Dipple said: “The UK’s rich music heritage and infrastructure has made the UK the go-to destination for live music globally and these statistics show how tourism is now a bedrock of British music and the wider economy. Music is putting the ‘great’ in Great Britain.”

Andy Heath, chairman UK Music, added: “More international music tourists are coming to the UK and more Brits are travelling further afield to gigs. The average spend by international music tourists has increased by 13% during this period, while the total exports have grown by less than 2%. If we want an export-led recovery, we need music tourists to keep coming to the UK.”

Words: Amelia Agostini