NEW RESEARCH COMMISSIONED BY MAYFLOWER 400

By Hils Balfour

Dec 12, 2017

New research commissioned by Mayflower 400 reveals strong economic potential presented by anniversary in 2020.

Survey highlights: • Respondents identified as ‘Hot Prospects to visit in 2020’ equates to over 13.75 million US citizens • Nearly 5,000 US adult citizens and members of New England Historic Genealogical Society and General Society of Mayflower Descendants surveyed • US general panel favoured independent travel while nearly as many society member respondents preferred a package holiday • 90% of Hot Prospects interested in attending historical talks and lectures as part of their Mayflower trip

On behalf of Mayflower 400, the official national and international visitor programme formed to lead the 400th anniversary commemorations in 2020, Destination Plymouth has commissioned research in the United States by specialist research agency, Habit5, to evaluate the commercial and investment potential of this iconic anniversary.

Of over 25 million descendants worldwide from the 102 passengers and crew on board the Mayflower ship, over 10 million are US citizens. It is estimated the national Mayflower programme will drive growth in the UK visitor economy of over 1.4 million visitors during the commemoration year with an economic impact in excess of £76 million in turn creating around 2,000 jobs. This research was therefore commissioned as a benchmark study to be shared with stakeholders and businesses in England and the Netherlands to engage them to capitalise on incremental inbound tourist visits from the US associated with, or inspired by, Mayflower 400 and maximise opportunities the anniversary will generate during this crucial countdown period to 2020.

The aim of Habit5’s study was to determine the potential visitor market size and profile of visitors, and motivations for visits during, and as a result of, the Mayflower anniversary. Furthermore, the study sought to understand current awareness of the 400th anniversary, as well as provide insights on the appropriate messaging to target US visitors, establish the US market’s propensity to visit England and/or the Netherlands for the Mayflower 400th commemorations and, if so, explore the respondents’ intended length of stay and type of travel.

Habit5 logged 4,865 completed surveys by a US general panel which consisted of US adult citizens who have lived in the US for at least 12 months and taken an international holiday within the past three years, and the society members panel which consisted of members of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and General Society of Mayflower Descendants.

The survey found that over half of all respondents had visited England in the past for leisure purposes highlighting the destination’s need to diversify tourism products and offer new attractions and experiences, beyond the obvious highlights of a first time visit, to entice US travellers to return for the commemorations.

Surprisingly, 80% of respondents in the US general panel were not aware of the forthcoming 400th Mayflower anniversary, however, following the anniversary being highlighted to respondents during the survey, 12% of the US panel population were ‘Very Likely’ Hot Prospects to visit England in 2020 with a further 36% classified as ‘Likely’ Warm Prospects. As a result, of the three sample groups surveyed, those identified as Hot Prospects to visit in 2020 equated to over 13.75 million US citizens. These results indicate an element of education around the anniversary should therefore be factored in by destinations and the trade when developing and marketing Mayflower 400 tourism products.

In terms of where they would like to visit, half of the Hot Prospects indicated they would wish to make a specific visit to Plymouth, Leiden, Boston and Southampton. Meanwhile, Plymouth ranked second after London for locations where the Hot Prospects would like to stay during the commemorations, followed by Leiden, Amsterdam, Boston and Southampton.

Some interesting differences emerged between the two panel groups; nearly half of the respondents on the US general panel would plan to travel independently to England in 2020 while nearly as many society member respondents would favour a package holiday. Furthermore, when it came to the length of stay, nearly half of the predominantly full time employed US general panel sample would plan a 4-7 night stay, whereas the society members (the majority of whom are retired) would favour an 8-10 night stay reflecting their commitment to experiencing a more immersive Mayflower holiday experience.

Over 90% of respondents in each segment were interested in attending historical talks or lectures while ‘historical group websites’ were a strongly favoured source of information, followed by tourism board websites and TripAdvisor. Furthermore 70% of Hot Prospects indicated an interest in itineraries that included some elements of walking on their trip.

Amanda Lumley, Executive Director of Destination Plymouth said, “The research evidences the significant potential the Mayflower 400th anniversary presents to the UKs visitor economy. We encourage the travel trade in the UK, US and Dutch markets to capitalise on this opportunity in order to generate valuable tourism business through driving visitors to follow in the footsteps of the pilgrims and experience the Mayflower 400 compact partner destinations first hand”.

Note to editors:

2020 marks the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower voyage, one of the most influential journeys in global history and a defining moment in the shared history of Britain, the US, the Native American Nation and the Netherlands.

The anniversary provides a special opportunity to inspire people across our nations with the stories of that iconic voyage, exploring themes of migration, tolerance, freedom and democracy that have such contemporary relevance.

An exciting national and international programme, the Mayflower 400 commemorations will highlight the significance of the special relationship between our nations; transform communities, provide cultural, business and visitor links; explore the different sides of the story; and celebrate the people and places of this epic pioneering tale.

The 11 UK Mayflower 400 Compact partner destinations within the Mayflower 400 programme are:

  • Austerfield, Doncaster
  • Boston, Lincolnshire
  • Dartmouth, Devon
  • Gainsborough, Lincolnshire
  • Harwich, Essex
  • Immingham, Lincolnshire
  • Plymouth, Devon
  • Scrooby & Babworth, Nottinghamshire
  • Southwark, London
  • Southampton, Hampshire
  • Worcestershire

 

For further press information and images please contact:

Daniela Resenterra / Josie Self / Annabel Jenkins

020 7593 1771 / 1758 / 1770

danielar@hillsalfour.com / josies@hillsbalfour.com / annabelj@hillsbalfour.com

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