Tourism - Good or Bad?
Figures published by Experience Oxfordshire, which promotes tourism in our area, show that in 2018 there were 31,765,600 visitors to Oxfordshire if day visitors and those staying are included. Of these 2,820,000 stayed for one or more nights. That figure in turn can be broken down into 2,115,000 from elsewhere in the UK and 705,000 from overseas.
The total value of these visits to the local economy is put at £2,275,935,000 and this generated the equivalent of 28,217 full time jobs, being 11% of all employment in the county.
Meanwhile the authorities in Bath say that their city is so overwhelmed by visitors that they are trying to restrict the number of tourist coaches entering the city. Bath has 90,000 residents and last year welcomed, if that is the right word, 6.25m visitors. Coaches will be banned completely from certain historic areas such as the Royal Crescent and a levy of £100 will be imposed on all coaches. As this would only be an extra £2 per head on a 50 seat coach, it is unclear how much difference this will make.
Local businesses complain that the visitors who come by coach spend little money in the city. Barry Gilbertson, chairman of the City of Bath Unesco World Heritage Advisory Board, said: "Bath suffers from a large number of coach tourists who spend almost nothing in the city.
"They come from London and essentially pick people up, drive to Stonehenge, where they have to pay, and then come to Bath where they don't have to pay to get in, and then they might go off to Warwick where they pay to go into the castle and then they zoom off down the motorway to London.
"In Bath these people leave no money, just pollution from their coach. This sounds harsh but it's true and the current administration is very aware of this. That's one of the reasons why they want to charge a coach £100 to come into the city."