British government urged to develop music tourism strategy

A cross-party group of influential peers has called on the British government to develop a new strategy for music-based tourism to support the UK economy.

The call was made during a House of Lords debate on the impact of music on tourism. According to the debate sponsor, Liberal Democrat Lord Storey, music festivals have been attracting unprecedented numbers of overseas visitors that have been pouring money into local economies.

The world’s ‘evident love’ of the UK’s musical heritage should now be used to support music tourism, he said, adding, ‘I have seen first-hand the positive impact music can make on local tourist economies. But, we must also consider the impact music can have on the country as a whole.’

A 2011 report estimated music tourists spend £1.4 billion and sustain over 20,000 jobs.

‘Great Britain simply has too much potential for musical tourism for the Government to stand idly by. I strongly urge the Government to consider how best to implement a well defined music strategy,’ Lord Storey said.

He also suggested that to attract more overseas music tourists, government should engage with existing tourist bodies and authorities across Britain and help them market themselves as music tourist destinations.

Baroness Liddell of Coatdyke, who is also a non-executive director of the national tourism agency, VisitBritain, supported storey’s view.

‘We are not doing as well as we could for music tourism,’ Liddel said. ‘We need to have more resource behind promoting our music tourism.’ She added that it was important to develop the overseas music visitor as they accounted for nearly 20 percent of music tourism spend. Glasgow’s indie venue, King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, and events and festivals like T in the Park are already well known.

‘We have the talent, the determination and the worldwide focus. Let us make this a key pillar of our tourism strategy into the future,’ Liddel said.

Presently, UK Music is researching a major report on music tourism, which will provide information on the economic impact of music tourists and information on spending. Liberal Democratic peer, Lord Clement-Jones, said that he expected the report to prompt Government to partner with VisitBritain, the music industry, the tourism and hospitality industries and others to identify the real ‘levers and barriers’ to developing music tourism in the country.