Bishop of Derby speaks of positive impact of sacred music to UK tourism

“I think our musical heritage is a key ingredient for encouraging international tourism. In an age of terror and despair, we have a rich gift to offer and we must do all we can to make it available and to secure its sustainability.”

On 11th July 2013 the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, took part in Lord Storey’s take-note debate to ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to support and promote the impact of music upon tourism. The Bishop spoke of the many local musical events that deserved to be highlighted in tourism material, including those in English cathedrals and churches and called for greater Government support for such events and traditions.

Bishop of DerbyThe Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Storey, on securing this debate. The noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, mentioned the iconic Rolling Stones concert in Hyde Park in 1969. Perhaps I should put on record the fact that I was there.

As we have just heard, music is not only important but a much underrated offer that we make to the rest of the world through tourism. When people come here for music tourism, they engage in making community and in being joined with others in a common culture through hearing a common language. Such things are very important for us to offer across the world as well as across the regions in this country. It is important that we do not just measure its significance in terms of economic impact, although that is important, but that we recognise a cultural, human hinterland that is enriched from Plato onwards and we must be proud of it and contribute to it.

The VisitBritain document, Delivering a Golden Legacy, identifies four principles to encourage this kind of tourism. The first is to recognise our international image, which is about heritage, arts and music—as the noble Lord, Lord Black, mentioned. The second is to develop an overall product so that performance, hotels, shopping and local businesses are all connected. The third is to be ambitious in our invitation and the variety that we offer. Fourthly, tourism needs to be embedded in other strategies for other sectors. Many noble Lords have spoken in this debate to illustrate some of those principles.

The UK Music report, Destination: Music, starts, as did the noble Lord, Lord Storey, in his speech, with Glastonbury. The research is based on concerts and events of 5,000 people or more. That is very important, but I want, in just a few brief words, to go to two other areas which fall below the radar of that kind of scale but which show the importance of music and culture for tourism. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby speaks of positive impact of sacred music to UK tourism”