Theatregoing tourists spend £2.8 billion

Published September 23, 2010

In 2009, more than three million theatre-loving foreign tourists spent £2.8 billion on visits to the UK that included a trip to the theatre, states a new report published by Visit Britain.

London’s world-leading theatre scene enjoyed the majority of the overseas custom, with 2.2 million tourists spending £1.9 billion on trips including a night at one of the capital’s famous theatres.

The report claims that in addition to a fantastic 2009 the future looks rosy for the relationship between London theatre and its foreign visitors, as numbers of holidaymakers and tourists older than 55 – two demographics particularly likely to take in a show – are set to rise. The exchange rate, which has fallen over the last three years, is also making trips to the theatre ever more pleasing to the cash conscious tourist.

Sandie Dawe, Chief Executive of Visit Britain, commented: “Britain has a phenomenal theatre industry. Whether it is a feel good musical like Billy Elliot or Mamma Mia!, a Shakespearian tragedy, grand opera or beautiful ballet, you are never far from a world class experience. And due to the exceptionally competitive exchange rates it has become a more affordable treat than ever. This report shows that British theatre is making a massive contribution to Britain’s economy.”

Away from the capital, theatres in the South East proved popular, drawing 235,000 tourists to their shows, while venues in the East of England recorded 133,000 visits by foreign theatre fans.

The Visit Britain report supports the findings of the Society of London Theatre’s 2009 Box Office Data Report, which recorded that in a bumper year for the West End, London’s theatres made over £500 million and entertained more than 14 million theatregoers, setting new records in the process.

MA