Spike Island

Bristol and Bath to receive cultural tourism boost

Great news for arts and culture in Bristol and Bath! 

Bristol and Bath are to receive a £350,000 award from Arts Council England and VisitEngland that will put culture at the heart of the cities’ billion pound visitor economies.

The grant will help to fund an ambitious three year project drawing together the tourism industry and the arts and cultural attractions in a new partnership that hopes to deliver sustained growth to the local economy. 

Both cities have well-developed visual and performing arts scenes as well as extensive physical and heritage attractions. Yet despite their proximity, few visitors understand how close and accessible they are to one another.  By working in close partnership, Bristol and Bath can add value and appeal for visitors, making them one of the UK’s top destinations for cultural tourism.

Bristol and Bath’s key arts and cultural organisations will be working with the tourism sector to create a unique offer that promotes the extraordinary cultural wealth on offer. 

The organisations involved are:

  • Bristol Old Vic 
  • Bristol Music Trust
  • Bristol Museums, Galleries and Archives
  • Spike Island Artspace
  • The Watershed
  • St George’s
  • Brunel’s ss Great Britain
  • Situations
  • Bristol Cultural Development Partnership
  • Bath Festivals
  • The Holburne Museum
  • American Museum in Britain
  • Bath Preservation Trust
  • Cultural Forum for the Bath Area
  • Destination Bristol
  • Bath Tourism Plus

Nick Brooks-Sykes, Chief executive of Bath Tourism Plus said: ‘This is great news for the visitor economy of Bath and North East Somerset. This project will lever greater economic impact from existing visitors to Bath and Bristol, encouraging them to stay longer and discover further cultural experiences and, alongside this, will present the critical mass of the two destinations to potential new cultural markets. It is a major step change in collaborative working between the cultural and tourist sectors and the two cities.’

Kathryn Davis, Head of Tourism at Destination Bristol said: ‘We are delighted that this bid has been successful and what a positive way to start 2014.  The cultural attractions in the cities are already an important part of the tourism offer but this unique partnership between Bristol, Bath and the cultural sector will enable us to build on this, to develop new audiences and attract new visitors, creating sustained and sustainable growth to the visitor economy.’

Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, said: ‘This is an outstanding result for Bristol and Bath’s cultural and destination organisations and well-deserved recognition for their determination to transform their individual offers into a powerful shared voice, with an exceptional and complementary range of contemporary and historical attractions for the cultural tourist.

‘More people every year are enjoying the arts and culture in local destinations and this is helping to drive the growth of the visitor economy.  The increased income leads to greater sustainability and resilience both for cultural organisations and tourism businesses.  This type of investment by Arts Council England shows our commitment to working in partnership with local authorities and local partnerships to support this growth in innovative and exciting ways.’