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Gloucestershire Business News

A bumper year for tourism

2017 was a bumper year for tourism in the South West.

Overall occupancy rates were 55 per cent, the highest annual figures recorded by chartered accountants and business advisers PKF Francis Clark, who have released the latest annual tourism figures.

Average occupancies were also up 1.5 per cent on 2016 levels. This is in contrast to the early part of this decade where the occpancy figures hovered around 50 per cent.

Month on month, there were also some interesting variations with the usual peak during the summer months, but a spike in occupancies in November and December which are now closer to 40 per cent on average, as opposed to below the 30 per cent mark, previously experienced in the sector.

Spend on repairs and maintenance in 2017 was on average 6.7 per cent of turnover which is higher than historic levels of around six per cent.This reflects the long-term trend that has seen repair costs tending to be higher when funds are available.

Advertising spend is up on long-term averages with spend currently at around 2.7 per cent of overall turnover.

The annual tourism business figures have been produced over the last 10 years by the firm.

Tom Roach, lead tourism partner, said: "Our tourism barometer figures are optimistic overall for 2018: with regard to occupancy, we normally see a figure above two per cent as significant, but a 1.5 per cent overall increase remains good, particularly when compared with the overall picture.

"More generally the economic outlook is also stronger than anticipated, with inflation remaining low, which should bode well for the sector in 2018."

Stephen Trowbridge, general manager of the Hatherley Manor, near Gloucester, said they had experienced a very busy 12 months, in spite of the fact they had a lot of building work going on with a new spa due to open in May.

"Generally I would say it's very positive from a rooms point of view," he said.

Picture caption: The Hatherley Manor

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