Advocating for Heritage During English Tourism Week 2024

Why our places matter

Last month saw many of our members opening their doors to welcome visitors for the first time in 2024 and politicians for English Tourism Week (15-24 March). This annual event is a great opportunity to raise the profile of tourism businesses and highlight their contributions to the UK.

Heritage is key to the UK’s tourism offering, attracting millions of visitors every year. According to VisitBritain’s most recent sentiment tracker, 26% of respondents listed visiting heritage sites as an activity that they would do on their next domestic trip. VisitBritain also found that 78% of international tourists said that ‘exploring history and heritage’ was an important driver in choosing an international destination to visit. Given heritage’s importance to UK tourism, English Tourism Week is also an excellent chance to highlight the particular challenges that heritage sites face as they could easily undermine the wider tourism sector.

Members across England welcomed their local MPs. At Browsholme Hall in Lancashire, our Technical Adviser Robert Parker explained to Nigel Evans, the Deputy Speaker and MP for Ribble Valley, the issues surrounding repairs and maintenance, and how expensive they can be.

L-R: Nigel Evans, Robert Parker

Elsewhere in England, Work and Pensions Secretary, Mel Stride, and Anne Marie Morris visited Powderham Castle in Devon, whilst Business and Trade Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, Kemi Badenoch, visited Talliston House & Gardens in Essex with local councillor John Davey. At Talliston, the two politicians heard about ways to increase local tourism from the house’s Director, John Tarrow.

L-R: Kemi Badenoch, John Tarrow

We were delighted that both the Government and Labour Party were keen to hear more about the fantastic work that heritage tourism does. The Heritage Minister, Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay visited Knebworth (see more about that visit here) and the Charles Dickens Museum hosted the Shadow Heritage Minister, Lilian Greenwood. The Museum’s Director, Dr Cindy Sughrue OBE, discussed with the Shadow Minister some of the policies that would make a real difference to the sector.

L-R: Frankie Kubicki, Lilian Greenwood, Dr Cindy Sughrue OBE Source: