£80m tourism income threatened by HS2

Thursday 23 April 2015

£80m is spent annually by visitors to the area of the Chilterns AONB affected by the HS2 proposals, a study by Tourism South East has revealed. The study uses 2013 data to estimate that 2.3 million tourists visited the HS2 corridor part of the Chilterns and generated £80m for the local economy, supporting around 2770 jobs. These figures provide a clear indication of the scale of loss to the local economy that may occur if HS2 goes ahead.

TSE Research was commissioned by the Chilterns Conservation Board, on behalf of a number of Parish Councils and local community groups, to undertake a study to quantify the economic contribution made by visitors to the economy of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) which will be affected during the construction phase and operation of HS2.

The study involved an audit of the main tourism assets within and close to the HS2 corridor area in the AONB including a review of the number of businesses in the area which rely on visitors from outside the area for a significant proportion of their trade. Data was also gathered on accommodation bed stocks and occupancy rates and visitor footfall at visitor attractions, where available. County level tourism statistics and national tourism surveys were also used.

The HS2 Corridor makes up just over a fifth of the AONB in size, and the Study suggests it accounts for a similar proportion of the visitors that come to the AONB (2.3m of over 10million).

This study does not estimate the impact of HS2, but shows that the tourism that is at risk amounts to about £80m per annum. This figure also excludes the income generated by local visitors to tourist attractions etc who are already residents of the AONB. Our estimates indicate that a further 2.2 million visits a year are made by local residents who spend a further £14.2m a year (£25m with multiplier effects) on local goods and services during their recreational visits.

Read the full report from TSE


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