More than half (53 per cent) of people polled for a new Visit Britain and Association of Leading Visitor Attractions report say their biggest reason for coming to Britain is heritage and culture.
According to the report, called Leveraging our Heritage and Culture, 82 per cent of respondents wanted to take in British culture via local markets, 81 per cent through local things to eat and drink and 69 per cent through architecture. Meanwhile, 68 per cent chose castles.
When people had seven markets to pick from, they voted Britain second when it came to historic buildings. Italy – home to the likes of the Colosseum and a variety of other renowned landmarks – was first.
hpi, a market research agency, created the report and 1,500 took part in research for it, from the US, Germany and France, which are the biggest source markets for tourists coming to Britain.
Heritage and culture in Britain supports 100,000 jobs and is worth £7 billion as an industry.
International passenger survey stats show that 33 million visitors came to Britain in 2013, and one in two took a visit to a museum while two in five went to a castle and a quarter took in an art gallery.
The new report shows respondents wish to have an experience distinct to the place they're visiting, and that there's a desire for additional information about exploring heritage and culture within Britain.
The VisitBritain.com and Lovewall websites were well recived, with respondents saying they performed very well and provided a very good way of planning a British trip.
"It is crucial to understand how people connect with our culture and the key motivations that make them choose Britain. Working together with our colleagues in the cultural sector we can ensure our messaging remains inspirational to a global audience, grow Britain’s fifth largest export – tourism – and deliver jobs and growth across the UK," commented Christopher Rodrigues, chairman of VisitBritain.
Nation’s Brand Index research in 2013 showed that people ranked Britain fourth when it came to culture (out of 50 countries) and fifth when it came to buildings from history.
Berkeley Scott is a leading London hospitality recruitment agency.