Some 7.7 million people attended live music events across all regions of the UK in 2009, new research from UK Music has revealed.
The organisation’s survey, which took into account the views of major festivals and concerts in the country, suggested that large-scale live music events contribute almost £1 billion to the UK economy annually.
As such, UK Music has called on the government to implement a live-music tourism strategy to boost the number of visitors to the UK.
“The role of music in terms of creating jobs, in terms of sustaining businesses and in terms of attracting visitors to all regions of this country comes over loud and clear,” said Feargal Sharkey, chief executive of the body.
“We will do all we can to work with policy-makers and tourism bodies to realise the potential of this considerable economic asset.”
On the back of this research, UK Music made a number of recommendations to the government.
This included addressing concerns over the difficulties that overseas performers have with the UK’s visa system, working with the music industry to ensure that fans have an industry-approved facility to trade and sell on tickets and encouraging live music at the grass roots by excusing small venues from regulations in the 2003 Licensing Act.
According to the study, which was undertaken by Bournemouth University’s International Centre for Hospitality and Tourism Research, tourists spent £196 million on concerts and £47 million on festivals in 2009.
This compares to the £652 million on concerts and £499 million on festivals by UK residents.
Events in London generated the biggest proportion of overall expenditure, with overseas tourists and UK visitors spending more than £400 million in total. The West Midlands was the next biggest contributing region, followed by north-west England.
Research leader, Professor Adam Blake said: “This is the first time that a comprehensive study of music tourism has ever been undertaken in the UK.
“It is important to note that our definition of a music tourist is hugely conservative, and that we did not analyse the vast numbers of non-ticketed or smaller capacity events. Subsequently, the true value of music to UK tourism will be much higher.”
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