Dartmouth Footfall report - Week 38 How can Dartmouth respond?

These figures again show that our footfall levels are nearly 20% below the same week last year and nearly 7% down on the previous week. Week 38 begins on the 18th September.

Clearly Dartmouth needs to respond to this challenge, at a time when the strength of the Euro means many people are holidaying in the UK. Tourist destinations are benefiting throughout the UK but we are not getting the attention we deserve. We all know Dartmouth is one of the nicest most friendly destinations in the UK with a fantastic offer for holiday makers but that is not reflected in the numbers of visitors we have at the moment.

How do we respond to this challenge?

Who will take responsibility to act?

Where will the funding come from?

All these questions need to be answered but DB News cannot see anyone taking that responsibility.

Latest Information from Visit Britain:

2017 inbound tourism forecast

The VisitBritain forecast for the volume and value of inbound tourism is issued in December each year. The below forecast is our mid-year update run in July 2017. 

In 2016 there were 37.6 million inbound visits to the UK, up 4.1% on 2015, with these visitors spending £22.5 billion, up 2.1% on 2015.

Our latest forecast for 2017 is for 39.7 million visits, up 6% on 2016 and £25.7 billion in visitor spending, an increase of 14% on 2016.


This forecast was run in July 2017, at which point provisional inbound data to May 2017 was available from the International Passenger Survey, and represents an upgrade to the forecast released by VisitBritain in December 2016.

The forecast of a 6% increase in inbound visits is a slightly faster rate of growth than that seen in the last several years and, if realised, would be the fastest since 2006.

A 14% growth in inbound spending would again be faster than that seen in the last few years and faster than the long term average although not unprecedented (a similar rate of growth was seen in 2013). The visits and growth forecasts imply an 8% increase in spend per visit.

We have identified a number of risks and assumptions when making our forecast and have briefly detailed some of these below. Two specific uncertainties to note are currency and security fears.

The pound remains much lower than its pre-referendum level and is forecast to continue to be weak in the short term, although the path of the exchange rate throughout the remainder of 2017 is a source of uncertainty in the forecast.

VisitBritain research conducted in July 2016 found that the prevailing exchange rate was likely to act as a net incentive for potential leisure visitors to come to Britain with the benefit concentrated amongst those who have visited Britain before and those with a good knowledge of the exchange rate. Provisional data for 2017 to date suggests that in addition to an increase in visit numbers, average spend per visit is up on 2016, driven at least in part by especially strong growth in visits for long-haul markets, who tend to stay longer and spend more.

The global macroeconomic outlook is generally benign and stable in most of Britain’s key inbound markets in 2017 and this is forecast to remain so for the rest of the year.

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  1. All the insight to driving growth in U.K. Coastal towns, harbour towns, all year round attractiveness and segmentation of customers is available on the National Coastal Tourist Academy website. It is a truly remarkable mass of high quality research. Follow the advice there and Dartmouth will rejuvenate the footfall.

    For some reason the Dartmouth TIC is fast asleep. The town council is only interested in acquiring property assets it can’t afford, demonstrating it’s prejudice and how much it hates dogs.

    There are however some outstanding local businesses who are shouting more and there are some outstanding festivals all year which are growing (except the regatta where the current committee seem to be trying to take away all the things that have in the past attracted visitors). The Noss Marina development is a rare insight into the true enduring attractiveness and uniqueness that Dartmouth and the River Dart has. Capital investment, investment in local skills and jobs and a high quality branded business that will no doubt shout about Dartmouth far and wide is a true example of the potential.

    People who do visit Dartmouth more often than not absolutely rave about it and most often they return. Converting returning customers into loyal public advocates is another avenue.

  2. Yes I have included the head of the Tourist Academy on my circulation. It is an interesting organisation. I am disappointed with the lack of response from the TIC, the Town Council and the Chamber of Trade who all seem oblivious to the problem of the town’s economy. We all know people fall in love with the place when they visit for the first time but they have to want to come here or they will never pass through. Without the marketing budget we had for the BID it will be very difficult to raise our profile. As you point out it is down to individual businesses to promote the town as well as their own business.

    • thanks for this Colin. Lets hope the TIC and the Mayflower Dartmouth team have applied for this funding? I will publish details in a newsletter to see the response.

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