All towns and cities attract some tourists. However, many towns and cities in the UK are known as ‘tourist towns and cities’ because they attract many tourists each year and tourism is an important part of the economy. The list of factors below will help to identify tourist towns, but not all the factors will apply to all towns and cities.
- Tourist towns and cities are recognised as tourism destinations in their own right. Cities such as London, Manchester and Cardiff are examples of cities which receive large numbers of tourists.
- Tourist towns and cities are mainly associated with leisure tourism; mainly they are destinations which attract short-break visits or are visited by leisure tourists for the day whilst on a longer holiday.
- Tourist towns and cities have a range of large attractions within them, which often appeal to a wide range of tourist types. Most of these attractions will be purpose-built or cultural but some natural attractions, such as the River Thames in London, will also be present.
- Tourist towns and cities are often, but not always, capital cities with government buildings or royal palaces being amongst the attractions.
- Tourist towns and cities have a range of facilities to support tourist activities. These may include tourist buses providing circular tours, tourist information centres and restaurants and cafes.
- Tourist towns and cities will have guide books written about them and Blue Badge or other guiding services will be available.
- Many tourist towns and cities have entertainment areas with theatres and restaurants, such as the West End in London.
- Tourist towns and cities will have a range of accommodation available to meet the needs of different types of tourists.
- Tourist towns and cities may well be featured in the brochures of tour operators, providing package holidays and short breaks to the city.
- Tourist towns and cities may also be coastal destinations, business destinations or historical and cultural destinations, or all of these.
- Tourist towns and cities may be associated with specific annual events and festivals, such as the Edinburgh Festival.
- Tourist towns and cities may be associated with sporting events, facilities and stadiums. For example, many visitors to Cardiff will visit the Olympic Principality Stadium.