How do we manage tourism in the UK?

Step 1: Read the key terms list below. Make sure that you understand and could give a definition to somebody else.

Step 2: Read the information in Section 1. Answer the exam questions here – 13.3

The growth of tourism in the UK

Domestic tourism is going on holiday in your own country. The UK tourism industry used to rely heavily on domestic tourism, as it was often expensive and unrealistic for an average income family to be able to go abroad. Domestic tourism in the UK grew in the 1950’s and 1960’s as people started getting annual paid holiday leave. The most popular destinations were seaside and countryside resorts.

The below video is an advert for Butlin’s from 1962. This would have been the typical holiday for most domestic tourists


Package holidays abroad meant that there was a decline in domestic holidays from the 1980’s onwards as people were able to go abroad for similar cost to a domestic holiday. Destinations like Spain meant that tourists were almost guaranteed good weather and to be able to experience a different country.

Number of UK residents holidaying in the UK and overseas - 1960 to 1995

Number of UK residents holidaying in the UK and overseas – 1960 to 1995

The graph shows a decline in holidays in the UK (green) and an increase in holidays abroad (red)

The contribution of tourism to the UK economy.

How Tourism Helps the Economy 2025

Tourism is predicted to be worth £257.4n to the UK economy by 2025 and contribute almost 10% of UK GDP. Hotels, transport and tourist attractions make up a large proportion of this money.

Butler tourist resort life-cycle model

The Butler model shows the stages that a tourist resort can go through depending on the number of tourists visiting.

Butler life-cycle model

Butler life-cycle model

Stage 1 – Exploration – In this stage a small number of visitors are attracted to a resort. This could be for reasons such as beaches, scenery and landscape, historical significance or culture. During this stage, the area has not been developed for tourism and local people have not become involved with opening businesses to attract tourists. The local economy is not reliant upon tourism for income.

Stage 2 – Involvement – After stage 1, local people start to get on board with developing the area for tourists. As a small number of visitors continue to come, local people start to open businesses aimed at tourists such as accommodation, restaurants, visitor attractions and transport.

Stage 3 – Development – By now, the resort is fairly popular with tourists and there are services specifically provided for them which there would not otherwise be. During this stage, large companies and chains of businesses start to open services in the area. This is because businesses can see the potential to make money from the resort due to the number of tourists visiting. By this stage, a lot of local people are employed in tourist services in the area and tourism contributes greatly to the local economy.

Stage 4 – Consolidation – tourism is now makes a major contribution to the local economy of an area through money and employment. Visitor numbers are continuing to increase. However, some early attractions and tourist services have not been updated and are starting to look run down and out-dated. Due to high visitor numbers, problems such as anti-social behaviour and high crime rates become an issue.

Stage 5 – Stagnation – By now, the resort is experiencing a decline in visitor numbers. It is not as popular or as fashionable as it once was. Businesses start to close and people start to lose their jobs as a result of this. Tourism no longer makes such a big contribution to the local economy.

Stage 6 – Decline or rejuvenation – In decline, visitor numbers continue to decrease and the resort becomes more and more run-down. Day trips become the main source of tourist income instead of proper holidays.

Rejuvenation – Instead of allowing the resort to go into decline, investment and money is put into the area in an attempt to make it popular once again. Councils will work to improve the environment and create new attractions to attract tourists back again.

Butler tourist resort life-cycle model – Blackpool case study

Blackpool - 2014

Blackpool – 2014

Blackpool is located on England’s north-west coast, on the Irish Sea.

Originally Blackpool became a holiday destination for residents of Manchester, Liverpool and other Northern industrial cities. Blackpool experienced rapid growth during 1900-1950, involvement and development stages of the Butler Model.

By the 1960’s and 70’s, package holidays had grown in popularity and Blackpool experienced a decline in visitor numbers. It remained a popular holiday resort but visitor numbers began to slow decrease throughout the consolidation stage.

In the 1990’s Blackpool was not fighting competition from package holidays and other seaside resorts and went into decline, relying mainly on day visitors and stag and hen weekends.

During the 2000’s and up until the present day, Blackpool has experienced slow but effective rejuvenation. New attractions are built, particular associated with the Pleasure Beach and new businesses have opened.