Record visitor numbers for district.

A record number of people visited Bath and North East Somerset last year, contributing £470m to the local economy, according to figures released today.

The latest Visitor Impact Report, an independent survey carried out by The South West Research Company, shows that an estimated 6.25 million people visited the district in 2018.

The survey also reveals that the value of the visitor economy in Bath and North East Somerset is almost half a billion pounds, contributing £470m to the local economy.  An increase of £40m since the last survey was carried out in 2016.

During 2018 more than a million people (1.182m) stayed in the area, a third of these staying guests were international visitors.  Around a half of the staying visitors opted for serviced accommodation such as hotels or B&Bs, while around a third stayed with family or friends. The survey found that the spend of staying guests was more than £266.5m

Bath and North East Somerset also received an estimated five million day-visitors during 2018, spending more than £191 million.

Queuing for the Roman Baths

Kathryn Davis, Interim CEO, Visit Bath, said: “Compared to the last data set produced for 2016, we have seen growth in both the volume and spend of staying visitors.  While the volume of day visitors has also grown, the average spend per visit remains relatively similar to 2016.”

Councillor Dine Romero, Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council said: “Tourism is a vital part of the local economy and I’m pleased to hear that our beautiful city and its surrounding towns, villages and countryside remain an attractive destination for so many people. The strength of our visitor economy shows the confidence people have in our city and the wider area, which has to be good news for business owners and employees. However, looking to the future we must continue to develop more sustainable tourism and make sure the long-term interests of the city and its residents are also protected.”

Figures from the International Passenger Survey (IPS) for 2018 were released earlier this year, showing that Bath was the 11th most visited town or city in the UK, up from 12th most visited in 2017. In 2018, the estimated top five visitor markets were USA, Germany, Italy, Spain and France, with Australia, Ireland, The Netherlands, Canada and New Zealand completing the top ten.



  1. The Visit Bath CEO says “While the volume of day visitors has also grown, the average spend per visit remains relatively similar to 2016.”. That is exactly the problem! The year on year increase in all these coaches full of visitors who stay for just an hour and contribute next to nothing is badly hurting the infrastructure of the city and lives of we residents.

  2. Year after year, Bath councillors breathlessly welcome the town’s record tourism figures, although this year the required reference to ‘sustainable’ tourism is made, although without any indication of what this means and how it could be achieved.

    A few years ago The Guardian – a newspaper with which Lib Dems will be fondly familiar – published the views of a travel industry expert who thinks mass tourism can never be rendered sustainable.

    It’s here:

    “Residents of tourism hotspots, who may have welcomed the first influx of visitors,” she writes, “soon find that cheap travel doesn’t reduce their costs. Visitors cause land, food, water, housing and infrastructure prices to increase at a rate closely correlated with the decline in tourism operators’ margins. Sadly, more tourism often means less benefit to the host communities.”

  3. Hi Richard

    The omission of China from the top ten visiting nations shows how unreliable the IPS is!

    In 2018 there were 111,491 Chinese visitors to the Roman Baths, almost double the next most spoken language, French, at 58,015.


    Stephen Bird MBE
    Head of Heritage Services
    Bath & North East Somerset Council
    Pump Room
    Stall Street
    Bath BA1 1LZ
    +44(0)1225 477750

    [AW Email signature]

Comments are closed.