The importance of British gardens to tourism is being highlighted by VisitBritain/VisitEngland during the RHS Chelsea Flower Show as part of the national tourism agency’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 2019.
VisitBritain/VisitEngland is this year supporting the RHS Bridgewater Feature Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, hosting an event to shine the spotlight on the role that gardens play in driving both domestic and inbound tourism.
It comes as latest statistics show that more Brits are visiting gardens as part of a day trip out in England, last year taking 7.4 million more such trips than in 2017, up 16% and making gardens more popular than visiting a stately home, historic house or palace.
Longer-term, visits to gardens as part of a day trip in England have increased 14% on average each year during the last five years from 2014 to 2018.
VisitBritain/VisitEngland Chief Executive Sally Balcombe said:
“Britain’s stunning gardens are a proven tourism draw which have inspired visitors for generations, admired at home and across the world for their beauty and variety and enjoyed by domestic and overseas tourists in growing numbers. With the summer season upon us and Britain’s gardens in bloom, it is the perfect time to be highlighting their importance to tourism at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show as part of our 50th anniversary celebrations.”
Garden attractions in England have also seen higher growth than other types of attractions according to VisitEngland’s latest Annual Attractions Survey. Garden attractions saw a 3% annual increase in domestic and inbound visitors, above the average for all attraction types of 2%.
When looking at inbound tourism, almost a third of all visits annually to the UK include a trip to a garden or park with those visitors spending a total of £8.9 billion during their stay. The US, France and Germany make up the top three inbound markets respectively for the number of visits to gardens and parks made during trips to the UK.
Gardens have been a cornerstone of the tourism agency’s promotional activity for decades, from the ‘Britain in Bloom’ competition which it ran for many years to VisitEngland’s year-long themed campaigns promoting English gardens to drive domestic tourism. More recently its focus has been supporting tourism product development for example the ‘Gourmet Garden Trails of England’ which packages up accommodation, and food and drink around English garden attractions.
VisitBritain/VisitEngland is hosting an evening reception for its 50th anniversary at the RHS Bridgewater Garden during the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, putting the spotlight on regional destinations and visitor attractions. The garden is designed by Tom Stuart-Smith and is the largest at this year’s show, described as a collage of the garden being built around the new Welcome Building at RHS Bridgewater in Greater Manchester.
Tourism overall is worth £127 billion annually to the UK economy, creating jobs and driving economic growth across its nations and regions.