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Heritage is key to local economies and local resilience

The ninth annual Heritage Counts report prepared by English Heritage on behalf of the heritage sector, reveals heritage plays a distinct and important role in the English economy. The report reveals that

  • over a 10 year period, every £1 invested in historic attractions generates £1.70 in additional economic activity and every £1 invested in historic environment generates £1.60

  • investments in 72 historic visitor attractions have created 3,600 jobs and safeguarded a further 6,900. On average each site has generated almost £3 million of additional expenditure in regional economies

  • half of all jobs created by heritage tourism are in local businesses

  • 24.8 million adults in England visited 2 heritage site in 2009, one million more than in 2008

  • membership of heritage organisations is at a record high, with 3.76m National Trust members, 988,000 English Heritage members and 31,100 Historic Houses Association Friends. More than the total membership of the UK political parties.

VisitBritian research identified heritage is a key driver of tourism, the UK’s third largest export industry and a direct employer of 1.36 million people, rising to 2.6 million when the indirect impact of tourism is taken into account. A third of international visitors cite our historic attractions as the main factor in choosing to come to the UK and more than half of international tourists visit a built heritage site on their visit. Investments in 72 historic visitor attractions have created 3,600 jobs, safeguarded a further 6,900, while generating an additional £190.9 million of expenditure in regional economies.

Heritage benefits local economies in at least two main ways: by attracting tourist visitors, and by providing distinctive and attractive locations for businesses, visitors and residents alike.

Investment in the local historic environment also supports the economic performance of cities, towns and villages by significantly improving their appeal as destinations, attracting new businesses and residents, encouraging people to spend more locally and enhancing perceptions of areas. Investment in the historic environment also improves the quality of life for local people. 93% of people agreed that the historic environment improved the perception of their local area and 92% agreed that it raised pride in their local area.

Baroness Andrews, Chair of English Heritage, commented “Heritage Counts proves the value of investing in heritage. But across the public, private and voluntary sectors it will be a challenge to continue to invest, at the very time when we need it most. We must make sure that public funds for heritage are not cut disproportionately and that we work together to find creative ways to get the maximum value from public, private and voluntary resources. Our heritage needs us now more than ever.”

Other key facts revealed by Heritage Counts this year are

  • one in four businesses agree that a heritage setting is an important factor in their decision on where to locate and is as important as road access

  • 91% of people surveyed agreed that the historic environment was an important factor in deciding where to visit, 74% where to live and 68% where to work

  • 92% of respondents indicated they felt heritage projects raised pride in the local area and 93% that they created a distinct sense of place

  • investments shows investments in the historic environment can offer returns, in terms of economic activity generated, equal to or even higher than public sector types of investment

Chartered Institute for Archaeologists
Miller Building, University of Reading
Reading, Berkshire RG6 6AB

0118 378 6446