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Thursday, 7 May 2020

The management of tourism

  • In 2014 there were 969,900 overnight tourist visits to Bath & North East Somerset.
  • There were 4.8 million day visitors to B&NES in 2014.
  • In 2015 there were approximately 1 million visitors to the Roman Baths, 398,319 to the Abbey, 157,851 to the Victoria Art Gallery and 90,147 to the Fashion Museum.
  • Bath is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • In 2015 the City of Bath ranked 12th in the VisitBritain ranking of top cities/towns for international staying visitors. 
  • There were 323,000 international visitors to Bath in 2015, a 36.8% increase compared to 2014 when there were 236,000.
  • £411 million was spent by tourists in B&NES in 2014.
  • It was estimated that in 2014 in B&NES 9,213 people were employed in tourism.
Coming out of the Covid-19 crisis the tourism industry will inevitably be facing grave difficulties. The statistics above show how critical this industry is in Bath.

There will be, and hopefully is, an ongoing discussion about how Bath will respond to this challenge. 

On a positive note many comparable cities around the world are using these discussions to address some of the more negative impacts of mass tourism and it is to be hoped Banes will follow this lead.

Any dialogue will inevitably need to involve numerous organisations such as Heritage Services, the National Trust, Bath Tourism, BIGHA, the BID, the World Heritage Steering Group and Bath Preservation Trust to mention but a few.

Historically, and it seems, currently one major group of stakeholders who will not be adequately represented will be Bath Residents and in particular Bath residents living in the historic city centre. And yet we are the ones who pay for the maintenance of the majority of the heritage assets that visitors come to see, we are the ones who create the social and cultural environment that visitors find so welcoming, we are the ones who volunteer as visitors guides and we are the ones whose amenities are impacted by decisions made about the use of public spaces.

We would like to see plans put in place to rectify this as a matter of urgency.

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