Statistics on the effect that the British Monarchy has on tourism to Great Britain

British Tourist Authority (VisitBritain) did not have the information requested.

Dear British Tourist Authority (VisitBritain),

My name is Jacob Trueman, and I am doing some research into the effect that the British Monarchy has on tourism to Britain. Recently, I have come across a piece of information that I have seen in several places. Apparently, of the top 20 tourist attractions in the UK, only one (Windsor Castle) is a royal residence.

I have seen this claim in Johann Hari's article for The Independent written last year entitled 'This royal frenzy should embarrass us all' (available here http://tinyurl.com/62d7jbo), and also on Republic's website on its 'How To Win The Argument' page (available here http://tinyurl.com/3zfxyuf).

I emailed Republic about the source of the statistic, and they told me the information came directly from VisitBritain, via a Freedom of Information request.

So now I am emailing you with a Freedom of Information request of my own. I was wondering if you could give me the information you have on the aforementioned top 20 tourist attractions in the UK referenced by Johann Hari and Republic, and the statistic that royal residences account for less than 1% of total tourist revenue that is cited on the Republic website.

And other information, data and statistics you have on the monarchy and its effect on tourism would also be greatly appreciated.

Thank you

Yours faithfully,

Jacob Trueman

Dear British Tourist Authority (VisitBritain),

I am writing to inquire about a recent Freedom of Information request, relating to statistics on the effect that the British Monarchy has on tourism to Great Britain that I sent to your organisation on the 17th of January 2012. By law, I should normally have received a response by the 14th of February 2012, but have had no such response.

It is possible that you haven't received the email, or that their is a genuine problem with attaining the information, but this would still normally prompt some kind of response.

I request that the relevant information I asked for be sent to me as soon as possible. If I do receive a response in 20 days, I will request an internal review. If I still receive nothing, I will contact the independent commissioner to complain.

Yours faithfully,

Jacob Trueman

Ros Carey, British Tourist Authority (VisitBritain)

Dear Mr Trueman

Please accept my apologies but I did not receive your original request. Could you let me know if it was addressed to me or, if not, who it was addressed to as I would wish to follow this up with them. We take our responsibility to respond to FOI requests within 20 working days very seriously. If the e mail was addressed to me there is a possibility that it went into my quarantined box.

In any event, I will now respond as soon as possible.

Regards
Ros Carey

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Dear Ros Carey,

I submitted the FoI request through the site WhatDoTheyKnow.com, so if I'm completely honest I'm not entirely sure exactly who the first message was sent to, as I imagine it would simply have been sent to the BTA contact the site has on its system.

In any case, thank you for contacting me. If you need me to resend the information I sent in the original request, I would be happy to.

Thanks again!

Yours sincerely,

Jacob Trueman

Ros Carey, British Tourist Authority (VisitBritain)

Dear Mr Trueman

I have checked the WhatDoTheyKnow site so I do have a copy of your original request now thank you.

It's a bit of a mystery as to what happened to your request in January as the emails which you've sent through the site today are clearly getting through direct to me. Anyway, fortunately we're back on track and I'll get back to you as soon as possible with the information you've requested.

Kind regards
Ros Carey

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Dear Ros Carey,

Thanks a lot! Looking forward to it.

Yours sincerely,

Jacob

Ros Carey, British Tourist Authority (VisitBritain)

Dear Mr Trueman

Please accept my apologies for not responding to you sooner.

VisitBritain does not collect any statistics on UK tourist attractions and we do not know of any comprehensive source for this data.

The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) publishes its members admission figures but, of course, these do not include data for attractions which are not members. The link to the relevant page on ALVA’s website is:
http://www.alva.org.uk/details.cfm?p=423

VisitEngland collects admission statistics for paid and free attractions in England which can be found here:
http://www.visitengland.org/insight-stat...
However, not all attractions choose to divulge their admission figures so VisitEngland’s surveys are not fully comprehensive.

The statistic referenced by Johann Hari and Republic that Royal residences account for 1% of total tourist revenue is not one which we recognise as having emanated from us so I assume it is one which they have extrapolated from available data.

VisitBritain does not collate statistics on the monarchy as an attraction. However, the following information may be of interest.

We estimate that visitors drawn here by the appeal of our culture and heritage spend some £4.5 billion annually (out of a total overseas visitor spend of £17bn). Around £500 million of that figure can be attributed to attractions and events with a connection to Britain’s monarchs past and present i.e.royal heritage.

The concept of royal heritage embraces places such as the Tower of London, Kensington Palace, Windsor Castle, Balmoral, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Trooping the Colour, the Royal Yacht Britannia and Buckingham Palace which attracted 600,000 visits during the 2011 season, up almost 50% on the previous record year of 1994 due to the interest in seeing the Faberge Exhibit and the wedding dress of the Duchess of Cambridge.

You might also find the information in our Culture and Heritage Topic Profile of interest: http://www.visitbritain.org/insightsands...

I hope this is helpful

Kind regards
Ros Carey

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