Shakespeare’s economic legacy for the UK- pt 2

Following Business Win’s post yesterday Shakespeare’s economic legacy for the UK we continue our review of how the Bard is increasing the UK’s economy:

Shakespeare’s economic legacy for the UK- part 2The area known as Shakespeare’s England (which takes in the towns of Stratford, Royal Leamington Spa, Kenilworth and Warwick) received 9.94 million tourists in 2014, according to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, the charity that cares for Shakespeare heritage sites.

It adds that the total value of annual tourism to the local economy is in the region of £635 million, which supports some 11,150 jobs.

Alisan Cole, from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, says: “2014, the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth, was our record year with 820,000 visitors, and we’re expecting 2016 to be on a par with it, if not exceed it.”

In terms of attracting hungry and thirsty tourists, Hathaway Cafe is perfectly positioned in the centre of Stratford, and is just a short walk from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

Manager and owner Rick Allen, 51, says that during the summer the  Tudor era teashop is packed with Asian customers, typically from China and Taiwan, playing £13 a head for afternoon tea (or £18 with a glass of prosecco).

“Off peak we get around 1,000 customers per week, but it’s well over 2,000 per week during the peak season of July and August,” he says.

Mr Allen adds that Birmingham Airport’s new runway extension, which caters for the growing number of flights from East Asia, has been a fillip for the business.

“We’re literally getting calls from people saying ‘we’ve got a booking for 24 and we’re on our way’. In August it’s mayhem – good fun, but mayhem.”

Down in London former actor Declan McHugh, 55, has been taking people on Shakespeare themed guided walks since 1999.

He says his business – Shakespeare in the City Walk – has grown thanks to positive word of mouth, and good reviews on websites such as TripAdvisor.

Mr McHugh adds that London is a rich seam for Shakespeare fans since the playwright spent most of his working life moving through the then murky and bohemian world of the Elizabethan city’s playhouses.
Declan McHugh’s tour takes in sites including The Seven Ages of Man sculpture inspired by Shakespeare’s As You Like It

Charging £10 per adult, he says the Shakespeare anniversary year is shaping up as a record one for his business.

“I’ve been doing this for 17 years and I’m starting to reap the rewards,” he says.

While he says it’s hard to give exact numbers, he normally gets between five and 10 people meeting him outside Blackfriars underground station every Friday at 11am. But that’s just for the public walks.

“Then I also do regular walks privately for colleges and universities from across the globe, plus there’s UK institutions and businesses. I have the Girl Guides coming next Monday, for example.  Private walks usually are for 15 20 people but I have done the tour for 60 people before,” he says.

Mr McHugh says his fascination for Shakespeare began at 11 years old, and now he regards the Bard as pretty much “his guardian angel”.

September 21, 2016  Tags: , , , ,   Posted in: Business Communications, Business Exports, Business Growth, Business Win, Global Business, Growing Business, Growing Sales, Uncategorized, Winning Business

Leave a Reply