U.K. Says Nature Contributes $17 Billion to Tourism Spending
The U.K., seeking to put a value on the environment, said nature contributed 12 billion pounds ($17 billion) to tourism and outdoor leisure in the latest year for which data is available.
The figure from the Office for National Statistics is the result of a 30% increase in spending enabled by the natural environment from 2011 to 2019 in England, and a drop of 55% in Scotland and 37% in Wales over the same period. It covers the value of trips and activities that rely on the outdoors.
The data mark the first figures covering the tourism industry in a new thread of research aiming to set out Britain’s “natural capital accounts.” Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is hosting United Nations talks on climate change later this year, has put the issue at the heart of his political agenda.
The statistics office is supporting that effort by drawing up natural capital accounts across the economy. The last one showed that the U.K.’s seabed generates more value for the economy by absorbing pollution and carbon dioxide than as a source of oil and natural gas. It labeled natural assets in the marine area at 211 billion pounds.
On average, the environment contributes 8% of total estimated spending on tourism and leisure activities in Britain, the ONS said. Northern Ireland wasn’t included in the research. Most of those activities took place in an urban area. Almost a third related to walking, running and cycling.
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