Wales’ Castles are Britain’s most popular attraction with foreign visitors according to a new VisitBritain report looking at what overseas travellers want to see most when they come to Britain. Wales’ castles proved to be more popular than Buckingham Palace and shopping in Harrods.
More than 10,000 foreign tourists were given a list of 18 things that can only be done in Britain - and asked to pick the ones they’d like to do most.
The top three choices were, in order of importance: to go on a tour of Welsh castles, visit Buckingham Palace and stay the night in a Scottish castle.
These results come from a new report entitled ‘’the appeal of only-in-Britain activities’’ which was based on exclusive research commissioned by VisitBritain from the 2010 Nation Brands Index. Researchers interviewed approximately 10,000 adults in 20 nations around the world.
The insights provide new evidence that history and culture are crucial components of Britain’s unique appeal as a holiday destination. In order of precedence the top activities were:
- Going on a tour of the castles of Wales (34%)
- Going on a tour around Buckingham Palace (32%).
- Spending a night in a Scottish castle (29.1%)
- Watching the sunrise at Stonehenge (28.9%)
- Watching an English Premier League football match was equal 5th (19%) along with shopping in Harrods (also 19%).
Touring the castles of Wales had strong appeal in almost all markets, with Poland (49%), Russia (48%), Italy (46%), and Germany (44%) scoring this highest.
Heritage Minister, Alun Ffred Jones, said: “I’m delighted that Wales’ castles are such an attraction for our overseas visitors. Our 641 castles tell the captivating history of our past and are located in some of the most beautiful spots; it’s no wonder that they’ve also captured the hearts and minds of those who took part in the survey.
“Some 20% of tourism expenditure can be attributed to the importance of the historic environment in attracting visitors. This is why we have invested in many of our important historical sites through the £19m Heritage Tourism project, which is backed with £8.5 million from the European Regional Development Fund. The project, managed by Cadw and Visit Wales, aims to build on that popularity and attract more visitors to our outstanding heritage, by ensuring it is more accessible and enjoyable to visit and tells the story of our past.”
Patricia Yates, Director of Strategy and Communications, said: “These results show how powerful our culture and heritage is in attracting foreign tourists and the global appeal of experiences that you can only find in Britain. It is striking that touring Welsh castles was so popular – and the top four choices were right across Britain, in Wales, London, Scotland, and England. It all strengthens our conviction that we have a great tourism product that we will be able to showcase on the back of the forthcoming Royal Wedding and 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to deliver a permanent increase in tourism- and the economic benefit and jobs that will result - across the whole of the UK.’’