Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by the British Tourist Authority


  1.1  The British Tourist Authority (BTA) was established by the Development of Tourism Act, 1969. It is charged with encouraging people to visit Great Britain, encouraging the provision and improvement of tourist facilities and amenities in Great Britain and has a duty to advise Ministers and public bodies on matters affecting tourism in Great Britain.

  1.2  When we last appeared before the Committee to give evidence on this issue we had recently taken the decision to re-deploy resources to enable us to exploit further the benefits that sport can deliver to tourism. We have now established a Sports Tourism Department and before moving on to discuss our role in relation to international sporting events, we should like to take the opportunity to up-date members of the Committee on other aspects of our sports tourism work.


2.1  The Value of Sports Tourism to Britain

  2.1.1  In 1999, some 25.5 million overseas visitors came to Britain and spent £13 billion.

  2.1.2  In 1995, when we welcomed 25.5 million visitors from overseas, who spent some £11.8 billion—part of a total UK tourism trips spend that year of £24.5 billion—Sport England calculated that £1.5 billion was spent on sports-related tourism. As empirical research shows that sports tourism can account for 25 per cent-33 per cent of all tourism, the indications are that there is a great deal of scope for growth in this sector. We intend to capitalise on this for the benefit of British tourism.

  2.1.3  The general consensus seems to be that Australia has provided an exemplar for future hosts of international sporting events. Australian States such as Victoria have developed successful, event-based tourism strategies and the fact that they won and hosted the 2000 Olympic Games demonstrates the success of this approach. There is little doubt that Australia will gain, not only from visitors to the Games themselves but also from those who will have been inspired to visit the country as a result of watching the events on television. It was estimated that, over an eight-year period—before, during and after the Games—an additional 1.6 million visitors will travel to Australia as a result of the 2000 Olympics and it now seems likely that this will prove to be an underestimate. There could be no better example of the potential of an international sporting event to act as a showcase for the host country and to attract visitors for several years in to the future.

  2.1.4  On a smaller scale, the Euro '96 football tournament, hosted by England attracted over 280,000 visitors, providing the eight host cities with a cash injection of around £120 million. Over 330,000 people are estimated to have visited Wales for the Rugby World Cup, 21 per cent of whom were from overseas. The Wales Tourist Board in—Rugby World Cup 1999—Economic Impact Evaluation—estimated that the net additional expenditure generated was around £83 million and that the event would act as the catalyst for 135,000 more trips to the UK over the next five years, generating up to £15 million.

  2.1.5  UK Sport has also undertaken significant research on the economic value of sporting events. However, as we understand that they and the Wales Tourist Board will each be dealing with their respective research in their own evidence to the Committee we will not attempt to duplicate the material here.

2.2  What is Sports Tourism?

  2.2.1  All countries play sport and many host international events but few can offer as many top quality, top name sports as Britain, or such a huge range of "cathedrals of sport" such as Wembley, Old Trafford, The Oval, Lord's, Headingly, Murrayfield, Twickenham, St Andrews, Ascot and the Millennium Stadium. Sports are a well established part of British life and can provide an insight into our lifestyle and heritage.

  2.2.2  There are four sports-related reasons why overseas visitors want to come to Britain:

    —  To watch great spectator sports.

    —  To visit great sporting venues and enjoy Britain's sports' heritage.

    —  To participate in outdoor leisure activities and sports.

    —  To enjoy sports-themed activities.

  2.2.3  Sports tourism is now more popular and economically important than ever before: increasingly, people are better off and have a greater desire to travel; low cost air fares are fuelling the continued growth in the popularity of short breaks, activity and special interest holidays and there is a growing interest in sport and a higher awareness of international events. Much of Britain's competitive sport receives considerable television coverage across the world, such as premiership and league football.

2.3  BTA's Sports Tourism Strategy

  2.3.1  In developing our Sports Tourism Strategy, our aim was to maximise the potential of sport for inbound tourism to Britain. We identified five key objectives:

    —  To position sports as an integral part of the British tourism product alongside heritage, culture, lifestyle and the countryside;

    —  To raise awareness among the sports industry of the economic benefit and potential of attracting overseas visitors;

    —  To contribute to the winning of major international sporting events;

    —  To position BTA as the leading agency of an integrated approach to the development of sports tourism;

    —  To complement the Sports Strategies of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly.

  2.3.2  To guide and support the BTA in carrying out this Strategy, the BTA Board set up a Sports Tourism Forum under the chairmanship of one of its Members, Des Wilson, who is also deputy Chairman of Sport England. The Vice-Chairman, is Tom Pendry MP, and membership of the Forum is wide ranging and includes representatives from sports governing bodies, the travel trade and the tourism industry as well as well known sporting champions such as Tony Lewis and Mary Peters.


  3.1  We think that the role of a national tourist office in staging international sporting events is to:

    —  Support bids for international events; and

    —  To maximise the tourism potential of events:

(a)  by using them as a catalyst to promote, support and encourage the improvement of products and facilities

      (b)  to boost visitors in the short term

      (c)  to enhance the image and competitive position of the destination in the longer term


4.1  The Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games

  4.1.1  BTA is a member of the Regional Tourism Marketing Working Group created to maximise the tourism opportunities provided by the Commonwealth Games. All of the key tourism bodies are represented; viz the North West Tourist Board (which co-ordinates the Group), Northwest Development Agency, Cumbria Tourist Board, England's North Country Marketing Consortium, Marketing Manchester, Manchester City Council, Manchester Airport plc, M2002 Limited and Marketing Manchester.

  4.1.2  The Group has produced a marketing plan which is summarised in a publication entitled Maximising the Tourism Potential for the North West Region. The plan is divided in to two stages: Stage 1—July 2000 to March 2001—is aimed at creating consumer and trade awareness, improving image and shaping opinion. Stage 2—April 2001 to March 2003—will focus on heightening awareness and directly stimulating visits; post Games there will be continued activity to maintain the momentum, together with programme evaluation.

  4.1.3  The key strategic aims of the plan are to use the Games to raise awareness of, and improve the image, of the North West and to benefit economically from increased visitor numbers to the region. These aims give rise to four main marketing objectives:

    —  To increase awareness of the North West in specific target markets and among key audiences.

    —  To improve positive image perceptions of the region in specific target markets/key audiences from 2000 to 2002 and from 2002 to 2004.

    —  To achieve at least 460,000 additional bed nights, with direct spending of £31 million in 2002.

    —  To reach and exceed the regional tourism growth targets up to 2004, creating up to 30,000 new jobs.

  4.1.4  The marketing plan recognises that for these aims to be achieved a number of other factors will need to be in place. Areas identified as being critical for success in delivering an outstanding visitor experience in 2002 include infrastructure (especially transport), accommodation, visitor management, customer service and quality assurance.

  4.1.5  BTA's role in the group has been to help formulate the marketing plan and to provide overseas support for the Games through our Sports Tourism Department and network of overseas offices. The key markets in which the Games will be promoted are Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada. We also expect some interest to be generated in Europe, in particular in relation to the festival programme to be developed alongside the Commonwealth Games.

  4.1.6  To date, we have promoted the Games through our quarterly newsletter "Sports Tourism News"; the Sports Tourism Trade Advisory Pack—which is aimed at advising the industry on how to get a share of the sports tourism market—the Sporting Britain website, and in our Main Guides—the primary piece of promotional print that BTA produces for each of its markets. The Games will also be featured in our forthcoming Sporting Venues Map and Sporting Britain magazine, both of which will be published shortly. Sport and the 2002 Commonwealth Games were also the central theme of our stand—taken in partnership with Marketing Manchester—at the World Travel Market this year.

  4.1.7  BTA overseas offices will be featuring the Games in their forthcoming promotional activities, particularly in the key markets identified above. As well as our Main Guides, this will include trade shows, Sports Tourism launches, press trips, leaflet distributions, magazine inserts and other more innovative ways of promoting the tourism message associated with the Games.

  4.1.8  For example, all British athletes competing at the Olympics or Paralympics in Sydney this year were provided with a fact pack on Britain. This provided them with information about the value of tourism to the British economy, the value of Australian visitors in particular and details of the Commonwealth Games in Manchester 2002. In October this year, 250 Australian travel agents visited Manchester as part of BTA's "UK—the Tour" event and received comprehensive briefings on the Commonwealth Games.

4.2  The 2003 World Indoor Athletics Championships

  4.2.1  The World Indoor Athletics Championships will be held in Birmingham in 2003. An organisation committee for the games is in the process of being established and, once it is up and running, we will be liasing closely with its members to establish how BTA can most effectively work with it to promote the Championships overseas. In any event, we will be incorporating details in all relevant activities and print for 2002, such as our Sports Tourism newsletter and Sporting Britain website. We will also mount a co-ordinated campaign to ensure that the tourism potential of the Championships is promoted internationally through our network of offices.

  4.2.2  Meanwhile, we are a member of a working group, formed by the Heart of England Tourist Board to formulate a sports tourism strategy for the region. Birmingham City Council who are hosting the Indoor Championships is also heavily involved in this project.

4.3  The 2005 World Athletics Championships

  4.3.1  The World Athletics Championships are scheduled to be held at a new stadium to be built at Picketts Lock although we understand that this may change. Once more details are available and the venue is confirmed, we will certainly plan a promotional campaign but, for tourism purposes, it is too soon to begin to promote the event actively.


  5.1  As the Committee is aware the English bid to stage the FIFA World Cup in 2006 was co-ordinated by the FA and led by Alec McGivan. It was a high-profile campaign supported fully by BTA through highlighting the attractions and appeal of England to promote the destination alongside the bid for the event. We also had a seat on the bid's advisory panel, co-ordinated by the FA, and provided help and assistance wherever possible.

  5.2  The FA cited tourism as one of the six key benefits that would accrue to the UK from hosting the event and BTA supplied all of the supporting statistics and background information to support this. We cross-linked our web sites; shared video footage to supply to broadcasters; and arranged for the FA's 2006 literature to be sent for display to our overseas offices. We also arranged for our overseas based PR officers to be briefed by the FA and all of our overseas offices were supplied with an England 2006 World Cup Bid press pack which included a multi-lingual video. We also contributed to FIFA's technical visit to England in October last year.

  5.3  In addition, we assisted and advised the FA in relation to the negotiation of hotel contracts; although this was one of FIFA's key requirements for a successful bid. Hoteliers were understandably nervous of committing to accommodation rates seven years in advance.

  5.4  BTA also supported the "Welcome to the World" programme, the central theme of the FA's bid and which was aimed at promoting football throughout the world—and England as the home of football. Had the FA bid been successful, we would have used this programme to ensure that the legacy of the event would have had a positive effect on inbound tourism to Britain.


  6.1  The Olympic Games in Sydney provided, through the positive experiences of the participants, a great platform for Australian tourism.

  6.2  Before this summer's Games, the Australian Tourist Commission estimated that a total of 1.6 million additional visitors would visit the country as a result of its hosting the Olympics; some visiting for the Games itself and others coming at a later stage as a result of Australia's raised profile as a destination. With the benefit of hindsight it would appear that this prediction will be exceeded and that the lasting positive benefits in terms of image and visitor numbers will be immense. It is estimated that the economic benefit of hosting the Olympics could be as much as US $4-5 billion.

  6.3  Sydney seems set to reap the benefits of running a successful Games. The level of welcome and service extended to both athletes and visitors was exemplary: that this was so, was due in no small part to the fact that the venues were so well managed, the media were well catered for, and the necessary accommodation and transport infrastructures were in place. Had these things not all been as they were, Australia could now be reaping the disadvantages of the negative publicity that would have ensued. We believe that Britain would do well to learn from this.


  7.1  We hope that this submission will serve to illustrate that sports tourism now occupies a permanent place in BTA's promotion of tourism to Britain and that, with the establishment of our dedicated sports tourism department, we are better placed than ever before to work with partners from both the sports and tourism industries to support and exploit the potential of sports tourism to Britain.

December 2000

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