Monday, 8 July 2013 9:03 AM
It’s not just us Brits that enjoy taking to the Great Outdoors when the sun is shining, VisitBritain has revealed that a staggering £7.8 billion was spent by tourists enjoying a garden in Great Britain, with a large chunk coming from younger visitors.
A VisitBritain study identified that of the 31 million people who tend to visit Britain each year, around a third (11.1 million) enjoy a park or garden, with around 2.4 million aged between 25-34 opposed to just 1.4 million aged between 55-64.
The latest figures confirm that going to a park or garden is one of the most popular activities for overseas guests, accounting for 36 per cent of all visitors, placing only behind eating out, going to pubs and shopping. It means visitors are surprisingly more likely to spend time in a park or garden than a museum, castle, historic house or art gallery.
Over half of all ‘holiday’ visitors (54 per cent) explore the UK’s green surrounds each year, a positive indication that admiration is growing across the world for Britain’s attractive scenery and landscaped gardens. It remains an activity which visitors can enjoy whatever their age group, from Bodnant Gardens with spectacular views across Snowdonia to the intriguing Muncaster in the Lake District or the world famous world-famous historic gardens at Inverewe in the Scottish Highlands.
London has also just celebrated 100 years of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and is home to eight Royal Parks and the globally acknowledged UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kew Gardens.
Unsurprisingly the most popular time of year to visit gardens is the summer months, with July to September accounting for 4 million of the annual tally.
The French appear to prefer our parks and gardens over any other country with 1.25 million visits, spending £406 million in the process.
Visitors from America are second in the table with 1.23 million visits, but they spend nearly triple the amount of the French during their visits, at around £1.1 billion. Completing the top three are the Germans, 1.15 million were enchanted by the UK’s natural beauty and also spent more in the UK than top placed France at £629 million.
Looking at length of stay and propensity to visit a garden produces similarly interesting results. VisitBritain discovered that the majority of visits are by those holidaying in Britain for between 1 and 3 nights, but that the longer the duration of stay, the greater the likelihood of a visit to a garden, with 56 per cent of 15+ night stays including time in a garden or park.
The Brazilians (61 per cent), Russians (51 per cent) and Chinese (45 per cent) have some of the highest propensity to visit Great Britain’s gardens than any market, which shows the growing and prominent interest from Britain’s increasingly important BRIC markets.
Sandie Dawe, Chief Executive of VisitBritain said: “We’ve completed three big pieces of research which all indicate that our parks, gardens and natural beauty are a valuable tourism asset, admired across the world and enjoyed by our visitors.
“It’s hugely encouraging to see our gardens are as popular with the younger generation as they are with 55-plus age groups. Post-Games perceptions of Britain have shifted for the better and time spent in any of our glorious parks is something to be cherished – especially when the sun is out.”
The findings are backed up by the recent post-2012 Olympic Games NBI research, in which 75 per cent of respondents across the world agreed that the Games coverage made them want to venture out and take the time to visit other parts of the country.
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