Today, our DCMS Select Committee published our long-awaited report into Garden Tourism. The publication of the report concludes months of evidence sessions and committee hearings, exploring how gardens and garden design contribute to tourism, to the creative economy and to our national heritage.
Our report concludes that garden tourism has much more economic potential which is yet to be exploited and that gardens should be formally recognised as part of the UK’s creative sector.
Above are photos from the D-Day sculpture and garden mentioned in the final report.
Amongst a raft of recommendations, our committee concluded that the Government should launch a ‘UK Garden City’ initiative in order to boost the support for garden tourism and maximise the benefits it brings to the economy, says a new report by the Digital, Culture Media and Sport Committee.
Garden tourism generates almost £3billion in GDP to the UK. In this new report, we highlighted that although gardens make up a significant part of tourism revenue and contribute significantly to the UK’s international standing, they agree that the benefits the sector brings are “not properly understood” and “underestimated in financial, social and cultural terms.”*
Our committee made wide-ranging recommendations to the Government and arms lengths bodies, include VisitBritain, to boost the untapped potential of the garden industry to the UK.
Steps that the Government and other bodies could take to enable the garden tourism to thrive:
- The benefits that the City of Culture initiative brings to local areas is well-evidenced. The creation of a “UK Garden City” competition as a counterpart to this would raise the profile of garden tourism. The DCMS Department should scope out how such an initiative could work in the next twelve months, with a view to launching the first competition before the end of 2020.
- The DCMS Department should convene a new taskforce including representatives from VisitBritain and the gardening sector to better co-ordinate garden tourism marketing activity. They should meet before the end of 2019.
- The DCMS Department and Visit Britain should increase the evidence base for garden tourism, including tracking the ongoing economic contribution of the sector and including such data in official department estimates. This could be done within the new Tourism Data Hub recently announced since the launch of the Committee’s inquiry.
- Local Enterprise Partnerships are a key vehicle for driving local economic growth and could play an important role in spreading the benefits of garden tourism more evenly across England. The DCMS and VisitBritain should build on the April 2019 guidance to Local Enterprise Partnerships by more explicitly championing garden tourism, and proactively seeking to ensure that tourism is included in the local 10 industrial strategies of areas that contain the 20 most visited gardens outside London.
Photos from the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, where our committee held an evidence session during the process of compiling the report.