The Economic Impact of Outdoor Activity Tourismin WalesFinal ReportVisit WalesMarch 2014
Authors:Sam WhiteMair SmithMarch 2014Pen-y-Wyrlod, Llanvetherine, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, NP7 8RG, UKwww.miller-research.co.uk 01873 851880 Twitter: @miller research
Economic Impact of Outdoor Activity Tourism in WalesFinal ReportContents1Executive Summary .12Introduction .33452.1Aims and Objectives .32.2Background.4Research Methodology .83.1Scoping Interviews .83.2Data Collection .83.3Sample .10Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis .144.1Importance of Outdoor Activity Tourism .144.2Target and typical visitor market .154.3Strengths of the Sector in Wales .164.4Recent Performance and Future Prospects .204.5Barriers to Future Potential Growth within the Sector .23Impact Analysis .295.1Economic Rationale .295.2Gross and Net Benefits .316Conclusions .477Recommendations .488Appendices .5031/03/14I
Economic Impact of Outdoor Activity Tourism in WalesFinal ReportFiguresFigure 1 Locations of activity provider respondents .10Figure 2 Main and Supporting Activities offered by Respondent Providers .11Figure 3 Sample annual salary of chief income earner in household .12Figure 4 Distribution of UK and Ireland visitor survey respondents .12Figure 5 Wales’ Position in an (Imaginary) International League Table of Outdoor ActivityDestinations According to Welsh Activity Providers .15Figure 6 Most frequent references made in respondents’ descriptions of outdoor activities inWales.17Figure 7 Activity providers business performance over the previous three years .21Figure 8 Activity providers anticipated business performance over the next three years .23Figure 9 Direct, Indirect and Induced Effects: Type 1 and 2 Multipliers .30Figure 10 Distribution of Providers’ Spend within and outside of Wales .39Figure 11 Distribution of providers’ spend on goods and services in Wales .39Figure 12 Estimated Geographical Distribution of Outdoor Activity Tourist Economic Impact .4531/03/14II
Economic Impact of Outdoor Activity Tourism in WalesFinal ReportTablesTable 1 Summary of Proportion of Outdoor Activity Visitors by Type .32Table 2 Total Number of Outdoor Activity Tourists in Wales (2012) .33Table 3 Total Number of Bed-nights.33Table 4 Average spend per person of activity tourists to Wales .34Table 5 Gross Benefit of Outdoor Activity Tourism in Wales .35Table 6 Average spend per person according to nature of booking .36Table 7 Outdoor Activity Tourism Industry Type 1 and Type 2 Multipliers .40Table 8 Relative Importance of the Outdoor Activity Tourism Sector in Wales .42Table 9 Net Economic Impact .44Table 10 Estimating Regional Spend for Day Visitors and Domestic Overnight Visitors .46Table 11 List of organisations contacted to promote the survey. .50Table 12 Number and Proportion of Outdoor Activity Visitors by Type .51Table 13 Average spend per person according to nature of outdoor activity .52Table 14 Deriving Outdoor Activity Tourism Type 1 and Type 2 Multipliers .52Table 15 Economic Impact of Outdoor Activity Tourists .53Table 16 FTE Employment Supported by Outdoor Activity Tourism .5631/03/14III
Economic Impact of Outdoor Activity Tourism in Wales1Final ReportExecutive SummaryThis report documents the findings of an economic impact valuation of outdoor activity tourismin Wales. The research was commissioned by Visit Wales in order to demonstrate theimportance of the sector to the Welsh economy.As part of a wider increase in demand for experiences and lifestyle-orientated holidays, as wellas growth in domestic tourism, an increase in the numbers of outdoor activity tourists has beennoted in recent years. Beyond its economic impact, activity tourism is linked to numerous prioritypolicy agendas of the Welsh Government. This has led many within the sector to claim thatactivity tourism is undervalued and should receive greater support.In response to these claims, the purpose of this research was to provide an understanding ofthe direct and indirect economic impact of the outdoor activity tourism in Wales, includingestimates of its contribution to the wider tourism sector and GVA. For the purpose of thisresearch, outdoor activities were defined as the activities provided by members of WATO,typically adventurous, adrenaline activities requiring some amount of excursion.The research comprised a series of initial scoping interviews with regional representatives ofWATO and two online surveys targeted at outdoor activity providers in Wales and visitors toWales who have participated in outdoor activities. The survey of providers collected informationon operational details, visitors, business performance and optimism and barriers to growth, andresulted in a sample of 93 businesses.The survey of those who had participated in outdoor activities probed for details on activitiesundertaken, average stay and spend on activities, accommodation and other items and alsocontained a demographic and profiling section. Distributed predominantly using social mediathis resulted in a sample of over 1,000 individuals.Key findingsAttitudes towards outdoor activities in Wales are generally very positive, with manyregarding it as a top destination for outdoor adventure experiences.Relatively strong recent business performance within the sector was attributed byproviders to an increase in domestic tourism, a growing outdoor activity market and therising profile of Wales as an outdoor destination, as well as individual businessexpansion.Growing competition between increasing numbers of providers and access restrictionswere thought to constrain further growth within the sector. Increasing operational costs,a deficiency in qualified staff and poor marketing were also identified as barriers todevelopment of outdoor activities in Wales.Total estimated annual1 contribution of outdoor activity tourism to the economy of Walesis approximately 481m2 or 6% of the total economic contribution of all tourism in Wales.1Data was taken from existing sources which was obtained across different time periods. As such, data was used to illustrate a‘typical’ annual period.31/03/141
Economic Impact of Outdoor Activity Tourism in WalesFinal ReportAdditional spend generated by outdoor activity tourists in Wales annually is estimated asbeing able to support in the region of 8,243 full time equivalent jobs in the Welsh labourmarket.The value added contribution of outdoor activity tourism in Wales accounts for 10% theWelsh tourism economy.Total expenditure on outdoor activity tourism in Wales accounts for 10% or 12% ofexpenditure in the tourist economy as a whole, according to Visit Britain and WelshGovernment sources respectively.Activity tourism is a high value tourist activity considering that the contribution of addedvalue output is greater than the (average) proportion of all tourists who are activitytourists.Economic Impact – Key Facts 481m total contribution to economic activity (all outdoor activitytourism)- 236m from domestic overnight visitors- 220m from day trippers- 24m from international overnight visitors 165m total contribution of outdoor activity tourism excluding longwalkers 304m in value added activity: 10% contribution to the Welsh tourismeconomy8,243 FTE jobs supported- 5,783 from day trippers- 2,254 from domestic overnight visitors- 206 from international overnight visitors2Direct, indirect and induced impacts.31/03/142
Economic Impact of Outdoor Activity Tourism in Wales2Final ReportIntroductionActivity tourism has become one of the key sectors deriving value from Wales’ naturalenvironment, not only directly through the expenditure associated with a participant’s visit,including accommodation, food and drink but also through the provision of jobs and incometo individuals employed within the sector and supplier impacts. Alongside the rise inpopularity of activity tourism in Wales, outdoor activity tourism has equally become a keyinterest for Welsh Government as a result of the role it plays in the tourist economy and themultiple policy agendas it bridges.Outdoor activity tourism cuts across numerous policy agendas including environmentalprotection and access; health, well-being and sport; and education. Demonstrating the totalimportance of the sector to Wales, as part of, and alongside other national priorities,requires supporting evidence. This provides the reasoning for Visit Wales’ desire to carryout this research.This report documents the findings of an economic impact assessment of outdoor activitytourism in Wales. Miller Research was commissioned to undertake the research on behalfof Visit Wales in order to evaluate the importance of the sector to the Welsh economy.2.1 Aims and ObjectivesThe aim of the research is to place a monetary value on the outdoor activity tourism sectorin Wales. The client brief specified the need to provide an “independent, evidence basedunderstanding of the direct and indirect economic impact” of the outdoor tourism sector inWales, along with an estimate of its contribution to the wider tourism sector, contribution toGVA and the overall value of tourism in Wales.A range of objectives were specified for the commission, including:Compilation of a robust approach to data gathering to provide primary evidence ofimpact from outdoor tourism providers;Careful analysis of primary and secondary data to provide direct economic andemployment impact assessments;Subsequent analysis using industry multipliers to assess the indirect impacts fromtourism consumption and supplier impacts;Profile outdoor and activity tourists in Wales and comment on the importance of thesector in attracting visitors to Wales;Make recommendations for future sustainability of impact measurement for thesector.The scope of the valuation was largely defined by the activities of WATO outdoor activityprovider members. It was recommended that walking3 and road cycling be excluded from3 The definition of walking as a hobby covers a wide range of activities from walking to the shops, work or school etc. to hikingon mountains. The latter end of this range can also be termed mountaineering which is included in the scope of the research.31/03/143
Economic Impact of Outdoor Activity Tourism in WalesFinal Reportthe survey as these activities have been studied extensively in the past. For the purpose ofthis research, outdoor activities were considered as the following core activities covered byWATO:Climbing – abseiling, bouldering, rock climbing, canyoning, coasteering, gorgewalking, ice climbing, ropes courses, sea level traversing;Watersports- canoeing, kayaking, white water rafting, windsurfing, board surfing,sailing, diving, improvised rafting;Trekking- orienteering, scrambling, off-road cycling, mountain biking, fell running,mountaineering, snowboarding, skiing;Caving- caving, potholing, mine exploring;Airsports- paragliding, gliding, hangliding, kitesports.It was agreed with the client group that activities such as angling, field sports and motorisedactivities would not be included in the research as these were not considered withinWATO’s remit and because recent research has already attempted to place a value on suchactivities.2.2BackgroundIt is difficult to estimate the market size and economic contribution of outdoor activitytourism using existing information due to the subjective scope of the sector and a resultantlack of comparable data. However, a small number of studies which include aspects ofoutdoor activity tourism as defined for this study, as well as wider tourism research offer aninsight into the market. These are discussed below.An economic impact study of adventure tourism (including gorge walking, rafting,paragliding and abseiling) in 2003 in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland estimated thetotal annual spend by UK visitors to the area involved in such activities to amount to 36.8m4. This was suggested to generate 5.2m in direct income and a full-time equivalentof 471 jobs.A useful source of information for activity tourism is the UK Tourism Survey (UKTS) 5.Analysis of UKTS data from 2003 for UK visitors participating in adventure activitiesindicated that, whilst adventure tourists typically spend the same amount of time on holidayas the average domestic holiday visitor, they spend less money on average per person ( 36per night, compared to 42 for all holiday visitors)6. It was suggested this was linked to aThus, an arbitrary cut off point was needed someone along the spectrum of walking. This is explained further, throughout thereport where clarity of definition is needed.4 George Street Research and Jones Economics, 2004, Economic impact of outdoor and environment related recreation in theHighlands and Islands: research report – adventure, cited in www.snh.gov.uk/docs/B726802.pdf5 Now Called the Great Britain Tourism Survey (GBTS).6 Getting into Action – the UK Adventure Tourism Market, Keeling, A. 2003www.insights.org.uk/articleitem.aspx?title Getting into Action %E2%80%93 the UK Adventure Tourism Market.31/03/144
Economic Impact of Outdoor Activity Tourism in WalesFinal Reportgreater propensity to utilise low cost accommodation. Certain activities, such as scubadiving, adrenaline and water sports were however associated with much higher averagespends, linked to the need for instruction and/or equipment hire. The same reportsuggested that whilst watersports were highly seasonal, overall adventure tourismcontributed to extending the season and attracting greater winter visits.More recent research, using UKTS data for 2010, has suggested that UK activity holidayswere in decline prior to the recession7. However, subsequent growth in domestic tourism, asa result of the poor economic climate, is thought to have contributed to a rise in thedomestic activity holiday sector, with an 8% growth in domestic activity trips in 2009. Thesame study estimated expenditure of domestic activity holidays in the UK as 1.77bn in2010, compared to 5.11bn spent by UK tourists on activity holidays abroad.As a result of a continued rise in domestic UK tourism and a desire to be more activefollowing the Olympics in 2012, it is forecast that the domestic activity holiday market willcontinue to grow8. It is suggested however that growth will be minimal in the long term andwill remain at an 11%9 market share of all domestic tourism.A small number of research projects have begun to make a distinction between ‘hard’ and‘soft’ adventure tourism. ‘Soft’ adventure is frequently described as beyond the typicaltourist itinerary, but without excessive physical demands or risk, including activities such ascamping, walking and biking. Meanwhile, ‘hard’ adventure is often referred to as beyond anindividual’s comfort zone, involving a higher level of risk and constituting a more physicalchallenge, such as mountaineering, white water rafting/kayaking and mountain biking.Activities provided by WATO’s members typically fall within the latter category and thereforeto use emerging definitions of adventure tourism, ‘hard’ activities are the main scope for thisresearch.2.2.1 Activity Tourism in WalesActivities are an important tourism product in many UK destinations but particularly so inrural and coastal areas, for example Scotland, the South West and Wales. Indeed, activitytourism plays a significant role in attracting a large proportion of Wales’ visitors. Accordingto a report published in 2003 using UKTS data10, 14% of UK holidaymakers to Walesundertook an activity as the main purpose of their trip and over 83% undertook one or moreactivities when holidaying in Wales.In the 2007-2013 round of European Convergence Funding, a large number of projectsrelated to the outdoor activity tourism sector were funded under the ‘Environment forGrowth’ (E4G) umbrella, with a total value of 35.5million. E4G comprised six strategic7 Activity Holidays Market Report 20128 Activity Holidays Market Report (2012) /10524/activity-holidays9 During this research an estimate of the proportion of all tourism which could be considered as falling within the definition ofoutdoor activity tourism used in this research was undertaken. This suggested that it accounted for 12% of all tourism. Pleaserefer to section 6 for further discussion.10 Wales Tourist Board, (2003) Active Holidays in Wales, www.tourismhelp.co.uk/objview.asp?object id 43231/03/145
Economic Impact of Outdoor Activity Tourism in WalesFinal Reportprojects, managed in partnership by Welsh Government (Visit Wales, and CADW) andNatural Resources Wales. Under two of the strategic projects – Coastal Tourism andSustainable Tourism – a Green Sea Programme and seven Centres of Excellence havebeen developed, which include three cycling centres and a watersports centr
tourism using existing information due to the subjective scope of the sector and a resultant lack of comparable data. However, a small number of studies which include aspects of outdoor activity tourism as defined for this study, as well as wider tourism research offer an insight into the market. These are discussed below. An economic impact study of adventure tourism (including gorge walking .
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