Transport is an issue of much concern in the South West. The region is predominantly rural, with a road infrastructure that battles to deal with everyday traffic, let alone the influx of tourists. As noted earlier, over 90% of domestic tourists travel to the region by car.

The 2001 transport profile (base case) was constructed by combining data on

  • the origin of tourists (South West Tourism, 2002),
  • mode of transport used (proxied from Cornish data (Cornwall County Council, 2000)) and
  • number of trips (SWRRG, 2003)

to give estimates of the total distance travelled by tourists to reach the South West. Further details on the methodology can be found in Additional Information.

Table 3 lists the base case distances travelled by tourists to and from the South West, by origin and mode, in 2001.

Table 3
Base case distances travelled by tourists to and from the South West, by origin and mode, in 2001
Mode of transport Domestic tourists Overseas tourists Total tourist travel
Total distance travelled 4,049,220 5,843,480 9,892,700
of which …  
Car 3,684,606 388,677 4,073,282
Coach & bus 161,961 17,085 179,045
Rail 161,961 119,875 281,836
Air 36,240 4,436,291 4,472,531
Ferry 4,250 881,541 885,792
Other* 202 12 215
* Other includes cycling and walking.
Note: Totals may differ due to rounding.
Sources: Cornwall County Council, 2000, South West Tourism, 2002 and SWRRG, 2003

Transport scenario: Reducing car use by a modal switch

What if tourists travelled the same distance as 2001, and implemented car use reduction policies by switching travel modes?

To derive this scenario, the following variables were assumed:

  • 20% reduction in car use in the first 5 years, and another 20% in the subsequent 10 to15 years (DfT, 2003).
  • To maintain base case distance travelled by tourists (9.9 million pass-km), the following modal switches would be required (BFF assumptions):
    • Bus travel to increase by 355%.
    • Rail travel to increase by 352%.
    • Walking and cycling to increase by 350%.
  • It was considered unrealistic to switch overseas tourists from air or ferry onto another mode of transport into the UK. For this reason, air and ferry travel remained as base case.

The scenario illustrates what would be required if government car use targets were to be adopted for tourists, yet allowing for overseas tourists to continue to use air and ferry transport. Figure 3 shows the distribution of distance travelled by tourists by mode, and the modal shifts, if the above assumptions were adopted.

Figure 3
Estimated distance travelled by tourists to and from the South West, if car use was decreased, in 2001

fig 3

* Other includes cycling and walking.

Sources: Cornwall County Council, 2000; DfT, 2003; South West Tourism, 2002 and SWRRG, 2003

Reduction of the ecological footprint

Figure 4 shows the tourism transport ecological footprint in the South West, for the 2001 base case and the reduced car use scenario. The possible transport ecological footprint reductions achieved through domestic modal shift and travel reductions are shown, but these have little impact on the total ecological footprint because of the dominance of air travel.

Figure 4
Tourism travel base case and scenario ecological footprint for the South West

fig 4