A newly-released report on the Blenheim Palace local economic impact in 2019/20, undertaken by Oxford Brookes Business School, on behalf of Blenheim Palace, has shown a sharp rise in the estate’s contribution to the local economy.
According to the report, the total GVA (Gross Value Added) economic impact in the last financial year was £126.8m – an increase of more than 26 per cent.
The new figures also reveal Blenheim supported a total of 2,486 jobs, a 15% annual rise.
Among the fastest-growing areas of the UNESCO World Heritage Site’s visitor market was its Christmas at Blenheim event which, in 2019, generated £15m, attracted 270,156 visitors and supported 287 jobs.
“I am delighted to report that, at the end of our fourth year of measuring it, our economic contribution has grown by a stunning 26% year on year, meaning that we have grown by 40% since the inception of the measure,” said our CEO Dominic Hare.
“Last year we generated economic value of almost £127m and now support just under 2,500 jobs, up from an initial figure four years ago of £91m and 1,900 jobs respectively,” he added.
The end of the measurement period coincided with the nation entering lockdown and Mr Hare warned the positive numbers are likely to fall significantly next year.
“Our visitors spent an estimated £53 million outside of our gates last year, I would be surprised if it is even one third of that this year,” he said.
“Not only have our visitor numbers fallen dramatically, but they have made much shorter trips and have tended to shy away from spending money in shops and restaurants,” he added.
The report says about half of the growth in the Blenheim Palace local economic impact in 2019/20 was as a result of Blenheim’s purchase of Kidlington-based Pye Homes.
“We have relished working with the team, all of whom are locally based, and look forward to producing more and better homes. They have taken on our 10 goals with gusto, bringing in new apprentices, focusing on local spend and finding ways to deliver real value to the local community,” said Dominic.
“While we expect next year’s economic contribution to show a significant decline, we remain as confident as anyone there will be a fairly strong recovery over the next two years. The resilience of our visitor numbers in the second half of the summer and the strength of our Christmas Light Trail sales has been comforting, as has the strength of the pipeline for home sales and rentals.
“We are grateful both for the significant government assistance and for the goodwill of our neighbours, who have continued to support us daily, even at the most worrying stages of the lockdown.
“We have before us exciting projects to reinvigorate the local economy, support our young people, deliver even more truly affordable homes and invest resources into local infrastructure and to support local groups,” he added.