Tourists More Likely to Stay Longer in Kent

Turner Contemporary’s latest research shows that cultural tourists are more likely to stay longer when visiting Kent than leisure tourists.

Their research is the culmination of a three-year long project called Culture Kent, which was led by the Turner Contemporary Gallery and funded by VisitEngland and the Arts Council England.

Culture Kent sought to reposition Kent as one of the UK’s creative counties, through a series of pilot events and artworks in key destinations: Margate, Folkestone, Canterbury, Whitstable, Medway, and Dover. Turner Contemporary worked with Kent’s tourism body Visit Kent to bring cultural organisations and tourism businesses together to create new ways of attracting and engaging tourists.

What are Culture Tourists?

Culture tourists are those that are visiting the area because of its cultural offerings and participate in cultural activity when they’re there.

A key element of the Culture Kent project was to commission an in-depth research programme, part of which examined the perceptions, motivations, experiences, and demographics of ‘cultural tourists’ to Kent.

54% of those surveyed as part of the research saw Kent as a cultural destination, which is above VisitEngland’s nationwide average of 35%.

The research also defined what makes a cultural destination:

“A cultural destination is a networked space delivering a total experience to visitors that helps them understand a location and its people, through history and contemporary culture.”

According to the World Tourism Organisation, 37% of all world travel is taken by cultural tourists: those looking to have authentic experiences in one destination, traveling to multiple different sites and local businesses.

800px-Okee_Dokee_Band_at_Broadstairs_Folk_Week_2017,_Kent,_England_5
The comedy folk-rock Okee Dokee Band with Keef Trouble (second from left) in the garden of The Royal Albion Hotel during Broadstairs Folk Week 2017, in Kent, England. Picture by Acabashi, taken from Wikipedia Commons

Director of Turner Contemporary, Victoria Pomery OBE said:

“The new research undertaken via the Culture Kent project has shown us that the arts can drive and sustain economic and social change by  attracting cultural tourists. From this insight, we plan to create more meaningful, relevant experiences for visitors and the local community. We are very excited to be using this knowledge to further our impact, and deliver Culture Coasting – an ambitious project, which will include new artistic commissions and benefit the whole of the Creative Coast in the South East.”

According to their Press Release, this new research informs an ambitious new project led by Turner Contemporary and Visit Kent, Culture Coasting.

A pioneering new cultural trail will be created, combining original new artworks by leading contemporary artists with geocaching treasure trail technology to offer visitors a unique new experience. The three-year project is funded by Arts Council England’s Cultural Destinations programme and VisitEngland’s Discover England Fund and will create a step-change in the visitor economy, increasing tourists to the South East by 2020.

Turner Contemporary will work with partners across the South East coast from Eastbourne to the Thames Estuary: Towner Art Gallery, De La Warr Pavilion, Jerwood Gallery, Creative Foundation, Whitstable Biennale and Metal, to create the trail.

The project has also secured significant investment from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP), East Sussex County Council and Kent County Council.

You can find out more about Turner Contemporary’s research and their project, Culture Coasting, by visiting their website or by contacting their media team. 


Colyer-Fergusson Charitable Trust was established in 1969 by Sir James Colyer-Fergusson. Since then,  the Trustees have made grants in his honour to preserve beautiful Kent churches, promote musical and academic excellence and support local communities . In recent years the Trust has made grants to improve the quality of life of local people by funding community projects that tackle poverty and social exclusion. It has also supported the sustainability of local churches and in particular their role as an important community resource. The trustees regularly review and revise their funding policies to ensure that Trust money continues to be well spent.

Find us online: www.cfct.org.uk

Twitter: @colyerfergusson

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