Report - Is Music Tourism the Next Big UK Travel Trend?

UK Music and VisitBritain released a unique report late last week analyzing the music tourism industry within the United Kingdom, and found some fascinating results: Perhaps most notably, an impressive 6.5 million international music fans attended a festival or concert last year, spending £2.2 billion in the process.

Music tourism provides a massive boost to the UK’s nations, regions and local economies, including at least 24,000 jobs each year.

The new UK Music and VisitBritain study follows a recent and sustained spike in interest around music tourism. Over the summer many senior politicians, including Prime Minister David Cameron, creative minister Ed Vaizey and shadow minister for culture Dan Jarvis, referred to the music industry’s potential for attracting overseas visitors to events such as Glastonbury and Bestival. 

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The "Wish You Were Here" report also found:

  • Direct spend by music tourists – buying tickets, paying for transport and accommodation – was worth £1.3 billion
  • Further indirect music tourism spend – additional spending along the supply chain generated by music tourists – adds a further £914 million, making a total spend of £2.2 billion
  • The average live music audience is comprised of 41% music tourists
  • Music tourists from overseas spend, on average, £910 while attending festivals and £602 while attending concerts (average tourist spend is £600)
  • Domestic music tourists spend, on average, £396 while attending festivals and £87 while attending concerts
  • Overseas tourists account for 6% of music tourism visits but a huge 20% of music tourism spend
  • London attracts 28% of all music tourists to the UK, with 1.8 million visiting the capital

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In addition to calling for an overarching strategy to encourage more music fans from overseas, the study also suggests towns and cities should promote themselves by making more of their musical heritage (Liverpool, for example, has capitalized on their connection to the Beatles for years, with tours, museums and even hotels dedicated to the iconic group.) 

VisitBritain CEO Sandie Dawe commented: “This report confirms that the UK’s music scene has significant international appeal and that music tourists spend lots of money and travel across the whole of Britain. This will act as a catalyst for us all to ramp up our activity and forge better relationships with festival organizers, promoters, venues and producers to raise awareness of our amazing music scene across the world.”