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Tourism and Heritage Strategy

Last updated on: 25-Feb-2021

7. The importance of Tourism to Gravesham

Nationally, tourism and heritage are important drivers of economic growth and regeneration; they have the potential to attract other investment and to support a variety of work, volunteering and skills development opportunities. The tourism sector is the fifth largest contributor to the national economy.

The most recent research undertaken in 2017 (Source: Cambridge Model) concluded that the volume and value of tourism activity in the Gravesham economy can be summarised as follows:

  • £110m generated by tourism activity for local businesses
  • 2512 jobs supported
  • 2 million visits per year; made up of 189,000 staying trips and 1.8 million day trips
  • Out of the 189,000 staying trips, 79% were domestic visitors and 21% were overseas visitors.
  • The main visitor expenditure is on food & drink, accommodation and shopping.

Day visits overwhelmingly dominate the pattern of trips for Gravesham. Short stays represent around 10% of visits, predominantly social and friends and family stays, with some business stays and visits to London. The priority is to increase the volume of stays and to expand overnight stays, raising the area’s profile for visits from further afield, including international visits.

Visitor figures demonstrate that Gravesham has the smallest visitor economy within Kent and attracts a disproportionate low share (approximately 4%) of Kent’s visitors, their expenditure and derived employment. Given the size of the local economy relative to other Kent Districts, Gravesham ought to be looking to increase the value of tourism to at least 6% of Kent’s visitors. From these figures, it is clear that the full capability of Gravesham to contribute more to Kent’s visitor economy has yet to be realised.

The aim of this strategy is therefore to take steps to expand this part of the economy. The key priorities being to expand visitor accommodation and add more to its attractions, especially where they support local investment and expenditure.

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