Garden Tourism: Government accepts need for new initiative to boost international visitors
The Government has accepted the majority of recommendations made by the DCMS Committee in its Garden Design and Tourism report to boost the economic potential of tourism in this sector, currently worth almost £3 billion in GDP to the UK. In recognising the challenges identified by the Committee, the Government has agreed to lead a roundtable with representatives from leading garden attractions across the UK to examine how to market the country’s wider garden offer and attract more international visitors. The first meeting is expected to take place this autumn.
However one of the central recommendations of the Garden Design and Tourism Report for a Garden City initiative has been rejected. The Government said a ‘UK Garden City’ initiative along similar but more horticulturally focussed lines risks confusion with City of Culture and other schemes such as Britain in Bloom and could dilute the positive impact these schemes have at a local and national level.
Chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee Damian Collins MP said:
“We welcome the Government’s decision to set up a roundtable aimed at giving garden tourism the economic boost it needs, as we recommended in our report.
“There is clearly a growing demand with international tourists putting our ‘crown jewels’ of gardens, such as Kew Gardens and the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, on their lists of ‘must sees’. But we know that garden attractions across the country are missing out on the economic benefits that come with visitors who love British gardens.
“We’re disappointed that our recommendation to create a UK Garden City competition to raise the profile of garden tourism hasn’t been accepted and hope the Government will consider this again in the future.”