South Downs visitors bring £464m boost to economy

image captionThe South Downs stretch for 100 miles from Winchester to Beachy Head

Visitors to England's newest national park spend an estimated £464.4m each year, a survey has revealed.

The South Downs, which stretch for 100 miles from Winchester, in Hampshire, to Beachy Head, in East Sussex, were designated a national park in 2009.

About 46.3 million visitor days were spent in the South Downs in 2011-12, of which some 6.4 million were made by local people.

The study found their spending supported 8,200 local jobs.

Of the day visits recorded, only 1.9 million, or 4%, were from people staying overnight within the park compared to 6.8 million by visitors sleeping in accommodation outside the park.

Local economy

The South Downs Visitor and Tourism Economic Impact Study is the first visitor survey of the area since the South Downs became England's tenth national park.

More than 90% of people said they believed that spending time in the area improved their health and sense of well-being.

Margaret Paren, chair of the South Downs National Park, said: "This is vital evidence of the role that tourism plays in boosting the regional economy and how much local people value their time in the South Downs National Park.

"It is very important that we balance raising the profile of the South Downs to support the local economy with encouraging people to visit sustainably and reduce their impact on the landscape."

There are more than 380 commercial accommodation businesses, and 119 visitor attractions, along with more than 400 other businesses including golf courses, tea-rooms, and petrol stations, based in the national park.

media captionSouth Downs National Park economic impact revealed

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