VisitBritain, the official British tourism authority, has released figures that show that the nation’s theatres are a major draw for overseas visitors.
A survey conducted by VisitBritain has revealed that the UK’s theatres, famous for their musical offerings and star-studded dramatic presentations, are high on the itineraries of visiting tourists, with far more of them purchasing tickets for such productions then for sporting events.
According to the survey, of the 20 million foreign visitors to the UK’s shores, 2.8 million, or 14 percent, purchased theatre tickets during their stay, while only 1.3 million, or four percent, attended a sporting event. This equated to a spend of £2.7 billion at theatres, compared to £1.1billion spent at sports stadiums. And of the theatre entertainment on offer, musicals proved to be the most popular, accounting for well over half of ticket sales at 64 percent.
In the Daily Mail, a spokesperson for VisitBritain said: ‘With Sheffield Theatres leading the wins at the recent 2013 UK Theatre Awards, and its production of The Full Monty heading to London following a hit tour of the UK, and the award-winning Wicked heading to Southampton, the popularity and diversity of regional theatre is clear.’
But despite these regional hotspots, it is still London’s theatres that are proving to be the biggest attraction, with 24 percent of holiday visitors to the capital including a theatre visit in their itinerary, while only nine percent of holiday visitors to the Midlands and the North found their way in to a local production.
Sandie Dawe, chief executive of VisitBritain, told the Daily Mail: ‘The vitality of our theatre – whether the London West End, or our major regional centres – provides a great holiday experience for our international visitors.
‘In Britain you can see cutting-edge theatre by new writers, big blockbuster musicals and plenty of Shakespeare with actors that are known across the globe. If you like the theatre, Britain is a great place to enjoy it.’