Tourism contributes 10% to the South West's economy, and accounts for 10% of employment - about 78,000 jobs. Visitors to the region are predominantly domestic holidaymakers, making 24.4 million trips in 2001. This is 19% of all England's domestic tourist trips and brings in an income of £3,900 million. Overseas visitors made a total of 1.9 million trips and spent an estimated £635 million. A little under £2,500 million was spent by tourists on food and drink, of which an estimated 49% was produced locally (SWRRG, 2003).

The most frequent form of accommodation for domestic tourists was staying with friends or relatives (21% of bednights). The next most favoured places to stay were serviced accommodation, holiday centres and self-catering. As would probably be expected, most overseas tourists stayed in serviced accommodation, but staying with friends and relatives was also common.

The South West tourism industry is ready to expand. Current expectations suggest an 80% increase in trips from 1999 figures by 2020 (LSGSW, 2000). Scenarios presented here examine the potential impacts of tourist-related energy use, waste, travel and water consumption.

For more detail on the tourism scenarios summarised here, see the Tourism Report.


  • Base case – the ecological footprint for 4,510 GWh energy use associated with tourism in 2001, is 360,000 gha
  • Scenario 1 – applying good housekeeping, with retrofit and refurbishment options, throughout all tourist accommodations in the South West reduces energy consumption and the energy footprint by 40%.
  • Scenario 2: the tourist season is extended into winter and tourist numbers increase by 80%. Energy management remains as now, and consumption and the energy footprint increase by 115%.
  • Scenario 3: the tourist season is extended into winter, and tourist numbers increase by 80%, while implementing energy saving measures as in scenario 1. Energy consumption and the energy footprint increase by 50%.


  • Base case – the ecological footprint of 119,980 tonnes of waste associated with tourism in 2001 is 132,000 gha.
  • Scenario 1 – increasing recycling to 60% reduces the waste footprint by 16%.
  • Scenario 2 – increasing recycling to 60% and reducing waste by 25% reduces the waste footprint by 27%.


In 2001 it is estimated that domestic tourists travelled 4,000 million kilometres (kms) to and from the South West, 91% by car. Overseas tourists travelled 5,800 million kms, 76% by air.

A scenario assumes total distance travelled remains constant, with a 20% reduction in car use in the first 5 years, and another 20% in the following 10 to15 years (DfT, 2003). It allows for overseas tourists to continue to use air and ferry transport. The ecological footprint is reduced by <4%: transport modal shift and reductions in car travel have little impact on the transport ecological footprint because of the dominance of air travel.


On average, tourists in the South West in 2001 consumed 394 litres of water each per bednight, giving an ecological footprint of 4,700 gha.

Water reduction measures, such as repairing leaks and installing water saving devices, throughout all tourist accommodations in the South West, could reduce the water footprint by 34%.

The Glastonbury Festival

The Glastonbury Festival is the largest greenfield music and performing arts festival in the world. Every June, for three days, a crowd of 150,000 pack a 900 acre site near Pilton village in Somerset.

Effective waste management practices have become a part of the event, and in 2004, for the first time, 110 tonnes of organic waste was converted to compost and used on the local farm. Recycling has also been a key initiative, with the Festival's recycling centre increasing its collection of waste for recycling from 38 tonnes in 2002 to 410 tonnes in 2004. Plans are in place to reach a recycling target of 24% of all litter.

The Festival also promotes and uses sustainable disposable products, such as wood based cutlery which was turned into wood chip, and biodegradable rubbish bags, plates and drinks containers.

For further information on these initiatives, visit

Sources: Edie News, 2004 and Glastonbury Festival, 2004