Memorandum submitted by the Historic Houses
The Historic Houses Association, which represents
the interests of Britain's privately-owned historic houses, castles
and gardens, welcomes the opportunity to submit evidence to this
BTA statistics show that historic properties
are amongst the principal attractions for overseas visitors to
Britain. HHA member properties (more than the National Trust,
English Heritage and their equivalents combined) make up a major
element of this sector.
Annually around 12 million people visit these
houses and gardens and a wide range of broadly-based attractions
and events. The properties also undertake extensive commercial,
corporate and retail activity employing approximately 10,000 people.
BTA statistics show that only 4 per cent of
visitor spend is at the attraction itself, but the remainder contributes
an estimated £1.2 billion from these properties into the
The importance and extent of this economic contribution
in relation to traditional agriculture has been all too starkly
demonstrated by the foot and mouth crisis.
The HHA welcomes BTA's and ETC's energetic action
in their attempts to resuscitate rural tourism in Britain. However
this Association remains concerned at the BTA's tendency to promote
larger attractions, most of which already enjoy extensive marketing
budgetsin the case of English Heritage and Historic Scotland
funded out of public fundsat the expense of the bulk of
smaller attractions which cannot afford the considerable expense
of participating in BTA promotions. They are thus overlooked and
the BTA promotion is weakened as a consequence.
This matter represents a longstanding concern
and was submitted to Tom Clarke MP and Janet Anderson MP, respectively,
as Tourism Ministers in November 1997 and in March 1999. The matter
is particularly relevant in the context of the CMS Committee's
current inquiry. This Association believes that BTA's action will
only be complete and properly effective if it makes reference
to and is able to support the broad range of the smaller and privately-owned
visitor attractions. Previous promotions tend to include exclusive
reference to National Trust and English Heritage and other similar
bodies. Measures to address this have been submitted to the BTA
Free promotion of all attractions
as part of the FMD response.
The appointment of a marketing official
to work specifically with the private sector and financed out
of the additional money made available by the Government to the
And in future, considerably reduced
fees for properties attracting les than, say, 50,000 visitors.