Visitor Economy Study for Kensington and Chelsea, London

About

Summary

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea required robust data relating to its visitor economy in order to inform on future policy decisions, particularly in the areas of spatial and economic development, culture and tourism.  The large numbers of visitors to the Borough generated significant income and employment, but also created conflicts with the needs of local residents.

The aim of this study was to provide up-to-date information on the importance of the visitor economy and to ensure that future policy decisions incorporated a detailed understanding of the benefits and potential conflicts that large numbers of visitors had in the Borough.

Our Approach

The study was undertaken by deploying four surveys to measure visitor expenditure, utilisation of accommodation, performance of businesses, and views of residents.  The visitor survey was an intercept survey undertaken at 11 locations throughout the Borough, largely chosen due to them having a high density of visitors.  The aim of the accommodation survey was to understand the utilisation of rooms within the Borough and also to determine the level of local employment generated by the accommodation sector.  This was undertaken by surveying 40 establishments with an online questionnaire.

The impact of visitors in an area is difficult to measure and assess because they generally use the same facilities as residents, although to varying degrees depending on the type of facility.  Undertaking a survey of business establishments is the most direct way to assess the impact of visitors on their operations, and also to assess their levels of confidence regarding the visitor economy, which is continually changing.  A sample of 100 businesses was selected for this survey and were contacted by email with a link to an online questionnaire.

The aim of the residents’ survey was to determine residents’ attitudes towards visitors, as well as their level of use of the various amenities and attractions, and also the frequency to which friends and family stayed with them in the Borough.  This survey was undertaken using a telephone methodology, conducting 300 borough-wide interviews.  

Outcome

The visitor economy was somewhat larger than had previously been reported, and was estimated as generating £3.1 billion for the Borough, with shopping accounting for 48% (or £1.5bn) of all expenditure.  UK day visitors accounted for 60% (or £1.4bn) of visitor expenditure, and were therefore the most important visitor group.

The non-commercial accommodation sector (people staying with friends and relatives) was significant.  A total of 2.4 million nights were spent by visitors in the homes of residents each year, accounting for 20% of total visitor nights.  Contrary to popular perception, the majority of residents were pro-visitor and understood the benefits that they brought to the area.

Recommendations were made that maximised the benefit of visitors to the Borough, assisted visitors to “navigate” the Borough through well-organised electronically disseminated information, and mitigated the effects of visitors on local residents.  An action plan for the way forward was developed that set out clear actions for destination marketing, product development, industry support, and communications and public relations.

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Visitor Economy Study for Kensington and Chelsea, London

Client:

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea,

Location:

Kensington, United Kingdom
Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

Contact us

3 Woodland Enterprise Centre, Hastings Road,
Flimwell, East Sussex, TN5 7PR, UK

+44 (0) 1580 879970

contact@acorntourism.co.uk