12 Feb 2011 Graham Smith
As you may have seen we have revealed internal evidence from VisitBritain that shows that, if anything, the royal wedding will have a negative impact on tourism. Now of course it doesn’t really matter what impact the wedding will have, what matters is that VisitBritain is being coopted by the palace to promote this fiction that the monarchy is good for tourism, despite the evidence.
Sandie Dawes, the Chief Exec of VisitBritain has repeatedly claimed that the monarchy is good for tourism and, since November, has claimed that the wedding will be a welcome boost. Yet, as the Guardian reported this morning:
“If we look at the marriage of Andrew and Sarah in July 1986 we find that across the year as a whole there were 4% fewer visitors to Britain than in 1985, but that in July  there were 8% fewer than in July of 1985,” he said. “While this and the results relating to 1981 are inconclusive, such as it is, the evidence points to royal weddings having a negative impact on inbound tourism.”
Foreign visits in July 1981, when Charles and Diana married, were down 15% on the average for the same period from 1980 to 1985, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Dawes has made the very specific claim that the monarchy itself is responsible for around £500m tourism revenue each year. This claim is completely baseless, I have asked Dawes for evidence to support this assertion yet she continues to cite statistics to do with a wide variety of heritage sites which attract large numbers of visitors. At no point has VisitBritain been able to show that the monarchy itself has any impact on tourism whatsoever.
I have seen no evidence tourism would suffer if the monarchy were abolished, on the contrary it’s easy to believe that it would marginally improve if all the castles and palaces were open to visitors. Even so, making money selling postcards and hotel rooms is never a good argument for abandoning any hope of real democratic reform.
It’s time VisitBritain stopped promoting the monarchy and got back to promoting Britain as a great tourist destination.Tweet this post This entry was posted on Saturday, February 12th, 2011 at 8:34 am and is filed under freedom of information, Monarchy myths, Tourism. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Comments are now closed.