Oxford tourism suffers triple whammy

Oxford Mail: Andrew Howard, owner of Magdalen Bridge boathouse Andrew Howard, owner of Magdalen Bridge boathouse

BAD weather, swine flu and the recession are damaging tourism in Oxford, according to businesses which depend on visitors to the city.

They said the summer had so far been a wash-out, with visitor numbers and takings down across the city.

However, Oxford City Council said the number of tourists set to visit was on course to match the 9.1 million who came last year.

David Strainge, joint manager of open-top bus firm City Sightseeing Oxford, said the company was “treading water”.

He said: “We were hoping for a good season, after a promising start to the summer, but it has never come.

“We have had a very quiet July, because we rely on good weather. When it rains, our numbers are not good.

“The trade is there – when the sun shines people go on the tour, but there's not much we can do when the weather is bad.

"I think that the tourists are still in Oxford. It just seems they're not spending as much money.”

Andrew Howard, owner of Magdalen Bridge boathouse, which hires out punts, said: “I wouldn’t say business is brilliant – in fact, it's mediocre.

“The weather wasn't good in July, which is the main tourist season for us. Add in the recession and flu and the picture doesn’t look great.”

More than nine million visitors ploughed almost half-a-billion pounds into Oxford’s economy in 2007, according to figures released by Tourism South East.

Visitors spent on average £36 a day and helped support 11,462 jobs.

Tourism across Oxfordshire was worth more than £1.2bn in the same year, with 23.4m people heading to the county.

Ronel Marais, manager of the Tower House Hotel, in Ship Street, said: “There have been a few quiet days and we're probably slightly down on last year’s takings at this point.”

Operations manager at Salters Steamers, Liam Challis, said: “We have had some very quiet weekends.

“When the weather is good, we're extremely busy – last weekend is a perfect example. I would even say numbers for our public cruises have gone up since last year.

“But we're almost completely dependent on good weather, and there has been more rain than sun.”

But the city council was adamant the area was managing to attract tourists.

Michael Crofton Briggs, head of development, said footfall and income at the tourist information centre were both up on last year so far.

He said: “Many people are taking short breaks or day trips this year, because of the recession, and Oxford has benefited from that.”

The top five Oxford attractions are:

  • Castle Unlocked.
  • Carfax Tower.
  • Walking tours.
  • Open-top bus tours.
  • Christ Church (partly thanks to the Harry Potter films link.

Comments (5)

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9:24pm Wed 19 Aug 09

dave from witney says...

I would think that the true reason numbers are down is a dirty , shopping centre and sky high car park charges. The council says that 9.1 million visited the city las year, how do they know that...who counts them....I have never noticed road blocks on all the approach roads asking if they are visitors. The council can only guess at the numbers and guesses can be made to suit what the council wants us to believe
I would think that the true reason numbers are down is a dirty , shopping centre and sky high car park charges. The council says that 9.1 million visited the city las year, how do they know that...who counts them....I have never noticed road blocks on all the approach roads asking if they are visitors. The council can only guess at the numbers and guesses can be made to suit what the council wants us to believe dave from witney
  • Score: 0

11:20pm Wed 19 Aug 09

Grundon Skipp says...

Yes- I can't see how the Council can come up with such precise figures when nationally no-one has any idea how many people are living in the UK legally or illegally, thanks to the genius of doing away with keeping records of people entering or leaving the Country, let alone how many people are temporary visitors or tourists.

As for spending money, I've had the misfortune to have had to go to the centre of Oxford twice this week (unavoidable- if I could have done the job in Reading, a local town or via the internet I would have done) and on both occasions the only money I spent was on a car park and a bus- both options costing around £3 so I could get a five minute job done. Despite wandering around, I couldn't find anything I'd want to spend money on, Oxford now seemingly entirely given over to mobile phone shops, coffee/ panini outlets and chav clothing stores.

The Oxford Story is long gone (should have been modernised or given over as a place to show changing exhibits of Oxford history and life) to provide yet more student facilities, and apart from the short slot in September where public access is granted to a few colleges, the only view a visitor gets of the quads etc that make Oxford famous is of enormous walls keeping the peasantry out.

A visitor would have to be coming from the moon to find much to buy in Oxford that they couldn't find in any city in the developed World, and what they do see is a dirty, dull procession of chain stores and roadworks with groups of bored looking EFL students hanging around outside the numerous fast food outlets.
Yes- I can't see how the Council can come up with such precise figures when nationally no-one has any idea how many people are living in the UK legally or illegally, thanks to the genius of doing away with keeping records of people entering or leaving the Country, let alone how many people are temporary visitors or tourists. As for spending money, I've had the misfortune to have had to go to the centre of Oxford twice this week (unavoidable- if I could have done the job in Reading, a local town or via the internet I would have done) and on both occasions the only money I spent was on a car park and a bus- both options costing around £3 so I could get a five minute job done. Despite wandering around, I couldn't find anything I'd want to spend money on, Oxford now seemingly entirely given over to mobile phone shops, coffee/ panini outlets and chav clothing stores. The Oxford Story is long gone (should have been modernised or given over as a place to show changing exhibits of Oxford history and life) to provide yet more student facilities, and apart from the short slot in September where public access is granted to a few colleges, the only view a visitor gets of the quads etc that make Oxford famous is of enormous walls keeping the peasantry out. A visitor would have to be coming from the moon to find much to buy in Oxford that they couldn't find in any city in the developed World, and what they do see is a dirty, dull procession of chain stores and roadworks with groups of bored looking EFL students hanging around outside the numerous fast food outlets. Grundon Skipp
  • Score: 0

1:32am Thu 20 Aug 09

SickOfIgnorantIdiotsOnNewsgroups says...

Grundon you saddo ! - I have lived her for eight years - Oxford is a lovely city as clean or as dirty as many other places in the UK with car park charges simlar to other cities I have visited across Europe (certainly a lot cheaper than many others I have been to). There is plenty of interest to tourists here and penty to spend you money on - I was chatting to a Canadian family in Jamies Italian last night and they had just visited Paris, Venice, Florence Nice London and were heading to Liverpool - they were full of praise for their two day stay here - maybe you need to get out more and take a chill pill - see what's in foront of you and ask what is the motive for putting down this great city at every opportunity - could it perhaps be politcal - maybe you don't like those 'goddamned pinko liberals' running the council ? - We have you taped old son :-)
Grundon you saddo ! - I have lived her for eight years - Oxford is a lovely city as clean or as dirty as many other places in the UK with car park charges simlar to other cities I have visited across Europe (certainly a lot cheaper than many others I have been to). There is plenty of interest to tourists here and penty to spend you money on - I was chatting to a Canadian family in Jamies Italian last night and they had just visited Paris, Venice, Florence Nice London and were heading to Liverpool - they were full of praise for their two day stay here - maybe you need to get out more and take a chill pill - see what's in foront of you and ask what is the motive for putting down this great city at every opportunity - could it perhaps be politcal - maybe you don't like those 'goddamned pinko liberals' running the council ? - We have you taped old son :-) SickOfIgnorantIdiotsOnNewsgroups
  • Score: 0

8:00am Thu 20 Aug 09

SNJ says...

The shops in Oxford aren't all that good, but that it not what the tourists come for, nor why most people have chosen to live in such a beautiful place.

I am tripping over tourists everywhere I go in the centre, and can't see much difference from usual, except on the river.
The shops in Oxford aren't all that good, but that it not what the tourists come for, nor why most people have chosen to live in such a beautiful place. I am tripping over tourists everywhere I go in the centre, and can't see much difference from usual, except on the river. SNJ
  • Score: 0

10:20am Fri 21 Aug 09

tribalamazonian says...

SickOfIgnorantIdiots
OnNewsgroups
wrote:
Grundon you saddo ! - I have lived her for eight years - Oxford is a lovely city as clean or as dirty as many other places in the UK with car park charges simlar to other cities I have visited across Europe (certainly a lot cheaper than many others I have been to). There is plenty of interest to tourists here and penty to spend you money on - I was chatting to a Canadian family in Jamies Italian last night and they had just visited Paris, Venice, Florence Nice London and were heading to Liverpool - they were full of praise for their two day stay here - maybe you need to get out more and take a chill pill - see what's in foront of you and ask what is the motive for putting down this great city at every opportunity - could it perhaps be politcal - maybe you don't like those 'goddamned pinko liberals' running the council ? - We have you taped old son :-)
Oxford is being run into the ground because of bureacracy and poor administration. The city is dirty - dirtier than most areas and this was exemplified by a friend who has moved to Nottinghamshire and, on visits back says she never realised how dirty Oxford and Oxfordshire is. I have also been to other UK cities and the parking is NOT as expensive and the cities are vibrant and exciting (Cardiff is one good example) - huge investment has revitalised the area while Oxford is stuck with inadequate shopping facilities and paltry "attractions". And many European cities also put Oxford (and other UK cities) to shame. Maybe it's time you woke up and smelt the coffee SickOfIgnorantIdiots
OnNewsgroups, and realised what is really going on around here - not much!
[quote][p][bold]SickOfIgnorantIdiots OnNewsgroups[/bold] wrote: Grundon you saddo ! - I have lived her for eight years - Oxford is a lovely city as clean or as dirty as many other places in the UK with car park charges simlar to other cities I have visited across Europe (certainly a lot cheaper than many others I have been to). There is plenty of interest to tourists here and penty to spend you money on - I was chatting to a Canadian family in Jamies Italian last night and they had just visited Paris, Venice, Florence Nice London and were heading to Liverpool - they were full of praise for their two day stay here - maybe you need to get out more and take a chill pill - see what's in foront of you and ask what is the motive for putting down this great city at every opportunity - could it perhaps be politcal - maybe you don't like those 'goddamned pinko liberals' running the council ? - We have you taped old son :-)[/p][/quote]Oxford is being run into the ground because of bureacracy and poor administration. The city is dirty - dirtier than most areas and this was exemplified by a friend who has moved to Nottinghamshire and, on visits back says she never realised how dirty Oxford and Oxfordshire is. I have also been to other UK cities and the parking is NOT as expensive and the cities are vibrant and exciting (Cardiff is one good example) - huge investment has revitalised the area while Oxford is stuck with inadequate shopping facilities and paltry "attractions". And many European cities also put Oxford (and other UK cities) to shame. Maybe it's time you woke up and smelt the coffee SickOfIgnorantIdiots OnNewsgroups, and realised what is really going on around here - not much! tribalamazonian
  • Score: 0

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